!! History Commons Alert, Exciting News

8:49 a.m. September 11, 2001: Deputy Fire Safety Director Says He Will Wait for Orders before Evacuating the South Tower

Philip Hayes.Philip Hayes. [Source: Newsday]Philip Hayes, the deputy fire safety director on duty in the South Tower of the World Trade Center, contacts Lloyd Thompson, his counterpart in the North Tower, and says he will wait to hear from “the boss from the fire department or somebody” before he orders an evacuation of the South Tower. [9/11 Commission, 7/24/2004, pp. 287; Dwyer and Flynn, 2005, pp. 27] Hayes is a retired New York City firefighter who now works for OCS Security, which holds the fire safety contract for the WTC. He is on duty at the fire command desk in the ground-floor lobby of the South Tower. [New York Times, 10/25/2001; USA Today, 9/2/2002; Dwyer and Flynn, 2005, pp. 26]
Hayes Told about 'Major Explosion' at the WTC - Hayes, who currently has no information about what has happened or guidance that he can provide to tenants of the South Tower, phones Thompson, the deputy fire safety director at the fire command desk in the North Tower. After Hayes introduces himself, Thompson tells him: “We got, uh, a major explosion over at the Trade Center here. It might be an aircraft.” Hayes then says: “We just wanted to get some direction on evacuation. But I’m not going to do anything until we hear [from] the boss from the fire department or somebody… because we don’t know what it is yet.” Thompson responds, “Okay,” and the call then ends. [Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, 9/11/2001 pdf file; Dwyer and Flynn, 2005, pp. 27]
Public Announcement Made after Call - Hayes’s intention, of waiting for instructions before taking any action, is “[c]onsistent with protocol,” according to the 9/11 Commission Report. However, shortly after Hayes calls Thompson, an announcement, later believed to have been made by Hayes, will go out over the public address system in the South Tower, telling workers that their building is safe and instructing them to stay in, or return to, their offices (see (8:50 a.m.) September 11, 2001). [9/11 Commission, 7/24/2004, pp. 287-288; Dwyer and Flynn, 2005, pp. 72] That announcement is made on the orders of George Tabeek, the New York Port Authority’s security manager for the WTC (see Shortly After 8:46 a.m. September 11, 2001). [New Jersey Star-Ledger, 9/6/2011; ABC News, 9/10/2011]
Deputy Fire Safety Directors Have Numerous Responsibilities - The deputy fire safety directors who work in the main lobby of each of the Twin Towers have responsibilities that include eliminating potential fire safety hazards, being available to address any concerns tenants might have relating to fire safety, and assisting with crowd control and evacuation, if required. [Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, 1999, pp. 8 pdf file; Averill et al., 9/2005, pp. 38-39] Equipment on their consoles allows them to monitor elevators and adjust ventilation systems, and they can press a button in order to deliver announcements over the public address system in their buildings. [Dwyer and Flynn, 2005, pp. 26]

Entity Tags: Philip T. Hayes, Lloyd Thompson

Timeline Tags: Complete 911 Timeline, 9/11 Timeline


Time period

Email Updates

Receive weekly email updates summarizing what contributors have added to the History Commons database


Developing and maintaining this site is very labor intensive. If you find it useful, please give us a hand and donate what you can.
Donate Now


If you would like to help us with this effort, please contact us. We need help with programming (Java, JDO, mysql, and xml), design, networking, and publicity. If you want to contribute information to this site, click the register link at the top of the page, and start contributing.
Contact Us

Creative Commons License Except where otherwise noted, the textual content of each timeline is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-ShareAlike