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Queens native views WTC horror firsthand

BY JACK SHANAHAN

A former Little Neck woman saw the second plane moments before it struck the World Trade Center and exploded in the most devastating terrorist attack on American soil in U.S. history last week.

“It was low and turning,” said Deirdre Harvey, a mechanical engineer who works for the Transit Authority in Lower Manhattan.

She had been locked out of her building at 2 Broadway only minutes before because a plane had hit the first tower. No one there knew at that time that it was not an accident.

Harvey said the second aircraft disappeared behind another building and she then heard the explosion.

“I’m outta here!” she said to herself.

“I just started running,” she recalled later. “It was then I knew we were under attack.”

She ran east, away from the disaster, and then north. She joined up with her husband, Bob, an electrician who works with the TA, at the agency’s office at 14th Street and Eighth Avenue.

The couple and several other TA workers then went to St. Vincent’s Hospital on 12th Street, where still wearing their yellow and red work vests, they kept the area clear for ambulances and victims, pushed wheelchairs and helped with sheets, oxygen bottles and first-aid equipment.

“I used my voice a lot!” said Deirdre Harvey, who grew up in Little Neck and whose family still lives there.

Her husband and several co-workers then hitched a ride on an ambulance to Ground Zero at the World Trade Center.

There near the corner of Vesey Street and West Broadway, they helped firemen with hose lines and in moving debris.

Within moments after arriving, Bob Harvey found himself lying in inches of ash and cement dust underneath another emergency vehicle, which had been tossed atop a fire hose when the tower crumbled.

He and a friend freed the hose, which had been wrapped around an axle of the vehicle. They freed another hose tangled around a lamp post.

While helping to put out some pockets of fire, Bob Harvey also found himself standing on boards that had debris smoldering beneath him, flames shooting up around him.

His wife said he had “a slight sunburn” when he returned.

“It was total destruction, a horror show,” Bob Harvey said.

A few hours after he and his friends left the scene, World Trade Center building No. 7 collapsed — right where they had been working.

The couple now lives in Valley Stream, L.I. Bob Harvey’s two cousins who worked in the trade center were among the missing.

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