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Glen Cove and Ferry Mobilize for Rescue Effort

(Originally Published Sept. 13, 2001)

Glen Cove tackled the unbelievable events of Sept. 11 quickly and professionally. One of the main objectives for rescue personnel in Manhattan was to transport survivors out of the immediate area and Fox Navigation made good on a promise made to Glen Cove two years ago-that is to assist the city in handling major catastrophes. Two vessels were immediately put into use for survivor evacuation from the Fox Navigation terminal at South Ferry to the terminal on Garvies Point Road in Glen Cove. After a 40 minute run from Manhattan, evacuees were met at the ferry-terminal-turned-command center by Glen Cove EMS personnel, Glen Cove Police, Locust Valley and Bayville fire department ambulance teams, county EMS squads, code enforcers, Mayor Thomas Suozzi, city agency personnel and city council members. Everyone had a job to do-whether it was administering first aid, driving a bus taking passengers to city hall phone banks, coordinating taxi service or offering a kind word.

The director of operations for Fox Navigation, Nilda Bracero, said the first high-speed ferry arrived at 12:30 p.m. with 284 passengers, (capacity), aboard. “We’ll go back and forth to Manhattan for as long as it takes,” said Ms. Bracero. By 3 p.m. over 600 evacuees—dazed and covered in cement dust had been brought to the ferry terminal. One of the injured passengers, a woman, was treated aboard the ferry by EMT/ former Glen Cove EMS chief Tony Jimenez and fellow EMTs Mike Basile and Rob Harvey. She was suffering with burns to her feet sustained when she frantically descended the stairs from the 94th floor of the first World Trade Center Tower hit. She had removed her shoes to hasten her escape from the burning inferno.

One of the vessels was re-fueled just before 4 p.m. On standby at a local marina were two private yachts whose owners were available to take any evacuees to Westchester.

At 4:30 p.m. local EMTs, doctors and nurses left to assist the monumental and heroic rescue effort in lower Manhattan. Seventy-five additional medical personnel gathered in a parking lot along Glen Cove’s arterial highway for bus transport to the ferry terminal. They were aboard the last ferry into New York which was at 8 p.m. and reports are that they are still in Manhattan.

Throughout the day Glen Cove’s city hall was manned by volunteer municipal employees and social workers from the Melillo Center for Mental Health of Glen Cove. They made sure to talk to the evacuees while they waited for their loved ones to take them home. Glen Cove residents came to city hall and offered to drive evacuees home or to the nearest open Long Island Rail Road Station. By day’s end, Glen Cove had assisted 1,000 evacuees.

On the morning of Sept. 12, Fox Navigation stopped running the ferry service because they were told to await word from the rescue command center in Manhattan. Glen Cove City Hall is trying to set up a local blood bank. The members of the Glen Cove Volunteer Fire Department are on standby at a central staging area in Belmont. They will be called to relieve their exhausted comrades as soon as they are needed.