Barry Jennings

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Barry Jennings

Barry L. Jennings (October 8, 1955 - September 10, 2008)[1] was a New York City Housing Authority official who claimed to have experienced an explosion inside of World Trade Center 7 building before the collapse of the Twin Towers on September 11, 2001. Michael Hess a corporation counsel for New York City was with Jennings and also experienced the explosion.

Associated Press article, September 11, 2001:

After the initial blast, Housing Authority worker Barry Jennings, 46, reported to a command center on the 23rd floor of 7 World Trade Center. He was with Michael Hess, the city's corporation counsel, when they felt and heard another explosion. First calling for help, they scrambled downstairs to the lobby, or what was left of it. "I looked around, the lobby was gone. It looked like hell," Jennings said.

Transcript from interview

"When we arrived, the police were in the lobby... Me and Mr. Hess who I didn't know at the time... [got] to the 23rd floor... we couldn't get in. We had to go back down, then police and security took us to the freight elevators where they took us back up and we did get in.

Upon arriving into the OAM POC, we noticed that everybody was gone... only me and Mr. Hess were up there. After I called several individuals, one individual told me to leave and leave right away. Mr. Hess came running back in and said, "We're the only ones up here, we gotta get out of here."

He found the stairwell... we went down the stairs. When we reached the sixth floor... there was an explosion and the landing gave way. I was left there hanging and I had to climb back up and I had to walk back up to the 8th floor... it was dark and very very hot. I asked Mr. Hess to test the phones as I took a fire extinguisher and broke out the windows.

Once I broke out the windows I could see outside below me. I saw police cars on fire, buses on fire. I looked one way, the building was there, I looked the other, the building was gone. I was trapped in there for several hours. I was trapped in there when both buildings came down.

The firefighters came. I was going to come down on the fire hose, because I didn't want to stay there because it was too hot; they came to the window and started yelling "do not do that, it won't hold you". And then they ran away. I didn't know what was going on. That's when the first tower fell.

When they started running, the first tower started coming down. I had no way of knowing that. And then I saw them come back... with more concern on their faces. And then they ran away again. The second tower fell.

So as they turned and ran the second time, the guy said "We'll be back for you". And they did come back, this time they came back with 10 firefighters. They kept asking "where are you? We don't know where you are?" I said "I was on the North side of the building," because when I was on the stairs I saw the North side. All this time, I'm hearing all kinds of explosions. I'm thinking that may it's the police cars [and] buses that are on fire. I don't see.. you know, but I'm still hearing all these explosions.

When they finally got to us, and they took us down to what they called the lobby, because when I asked them, I said "Where are we?" He said, "This was the lobby." And I said, "You got to be kidding me." Total ruins. Keep in mind, when I came in there, the lobby had nice escalators--it was a huge lobby. And for me to see what I saw was unbelievable.

And the firefighter who took us down kept saying, "Do not look down." I kept saying, "Why?" We were stepping over people. And you know when you can feel when you are stepping over people. They took us out through a hole... in this wall, and that's how they got us out... this huge police officer came over to me and he said, "You have to run". I said, "I can't, my knees are swollen". [He said] "You'll have to get on your knees and crawl then, because we have reports of more explosions." That's when I started crawling and I saw this guy fall behind me, and his comrades came to his aid and they dragged him to safety." [1]

Second interview

"Upon arriving into the OEM EOC, we noticed that everybody was gone," said Jennings. “I saw coffee that was on the desk, the smoke was still coming off the coffee, I saw half-eaten sandwiches,” he stated, adding that he and Hess were told to leave the building right away.

Jennings and Hess found a stairwell and descended the stairs.

“When we reached the 6th floor the landing that we were standing on gave way, there was an explosion and the landing gave way, I was left there hanging, I had to climb back up and walk back up to the 8th floor,” said Jennings.

“The explosion was beneath me….so when the explosion happened it blew us back….both buildings (the twin towers) were still standing,” he added.

“I was trapped in there for several hours, I was trapped in there when both buildings came down - all this time I’m hearing all kinds of explosions, all this time I’m hearing explosions, said Jennings, adding that when firefighters took them down to the lobby it was in “total ruins”.

“For me to see what I saw was unbelievable,” said Jennings.

The firefighters kept saying to Jennings “do not look down” because, according to Jennings, “we were stepping over people and you can tell when you’re stepping over people.”

A police officer then told Jennings, “you will have to run because we have reports of more explosions.”

“I’m just confused about one thing….why World Trade Center 7 went down in the first place - I’m very confused about that - I know what I heard I heard explosions,” said Jennings, adding that the explanation that the explosions were as a result of fuel oil tanks in the building did not add up.

“I’m an old boiler guy, if it was a fuel oil tank it would have been one side of the building,” he stated. [2]

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See also