Media Was a Lifeline to Some Trapped After Explosion With PM-Trade Center Explosion, Bjt
NEW YORK (AP) _ What do you do when stranded in a smoke-filled skyscraper and the emergency telephone numbers are constantly busy? Many frightened people in the World Trade Center called the media for help.
In on-the-air chats during Friday’s live coverage, WCBS-TV anchor Dana Tyler told frightened callers to stay calm and weatherman Frank Field offered tips for surviving smoke.
WNBC-TV anchorman Chuck Scarborough instructed several people trapped in an office to remove the ceiling tiles to allow the smoke to rise.
Other media outlets, including CBS Radio and a cable local news channel, New York 1, also received calls from the towers and broadcast tips from the Fire Department.
″Hi, I’m on the 85th floor, or on the 55th floor, or the 70th floor. We’re losing our power. What do I do?″ Martin Blair, a spokesman for WCBS-TV, quoted desperate callers from the 110-story towers as saying. ″People were really scared.″
One group of people got off on the 70th floor because of the heavy smoke; when they called WCBS for further instructions, they were told to proceed down the stairs, assured that the escape route was fire free.
Most of the city’s broadcast stations have their transmitters on top of the World Trade Center. WNBC was knocked out immediately after the blast, and WABC-TV went out when the power was cut.
Both made arrangements with regional public television stations to relay their signals, although some areas were still unable to pick up the stations late Friday.
WCBS reported a slight glitch during its noon newscast, but there was no break in broadcasting, Blair said. It switched to a backup transmitter at the Empire State Building.
Virtually all the city’s broadcast stations feed their signals directly to Time Warner Cable, which operates in Manhattan and Queens and was not affected by the outage.
Radio stations, including WKCR-FM and WQCD-FM, also went down Friday afternoon.
The Associated Press experienced sporadic disruptions in service for two hours when its communication link at the World Trade Center was broken, said Tim Gallivan of AP’s editorial systems.
Motorola Corp., a communications and electronics company in College Point, Queens, reported that electronic paging devices and radio phones also were affected by the loss of power at the World Trade Center, said a spokesman, Michael Aromi.
Con Edison cut off electricity after the explosion to prevent possible fires. Full service was restored by 8 p.m., said spokesman Dan Walden.