Rhodes, Al Ryan, and Cooper Scott received an up-close
look at the devastation of 'ground zero' where the
World Trade Center Towers formerly stood in New
"It's an absolute war zone." That
was the opinion of three firefighters from the Central
Platte Fire Department who got an up close and personal
look at the destruction caused by last week's terroristic
attacks on the World Trade Center towers in New York City.
Local firefighters Cooper Scott, Clint Rhodes
and Al Ryan arrived in New York Friday night, helped in
the clean-up efforts on Saturday and came back to Platte
County on Sunday after being told there wasn't room for
all the volunteers who had showed up to work the scene.
"There were people who would have paid to be able
to go in there and help," said Scott.
Some phone calls by Rhodes eventually led to the three
local men catching a flight to New York. The Salvation
Army covered the cost of the trip.
The trio of Central Platte firefighters took on a project
assisting a group of Chicago-based firefighters in cleaning
out some restaurants and a Burger King right across from
where the towers had stood.
"We just basically went in there and gutted those
buildings. We turned the area into a first aid room and
set it up for storage for tools and equipment," Scott
He said there were volunteer firemen, welders, plumbers,
and construction workers nearly fighting each other just
to get in there to help.
"People were so grateful, so appreciative. There
were people patting us on the backs, stopping us, trying
to feed us and offering us room and board," he remarked.
"We did about 16 hours worth of work in a nine-hour
period," he said.
So, with an up close look at the destruction, what was
his opinion of the area that has come to be known as 'ground
"My first impression is that you just can't describe
it, you can't explain it. When you see it on TV the cameras
are focusing on where the towers stood, but two blocks
back there is a pile of fire trucks and police cruisers
that were destroyed. I mean a pile of them," Scott
"It's an absolute war zone. They've got a hell of
a mess up there."
He said there literally was no more room for volunteers
to operate, and many had to be turned away.
"They have an unlimited amount of manpower and equipment,"
"But they were appreciative that we came up to help."