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She sat in an almost deserted borough hall surrounded by her closest aides.
"Ill be going to the hospital soon to see about the survivors. After all, Im a nurse, maybe I can help."
Claire Shulmans eyes were tear-stained as she poured out her concern for the victims, many from Queens who worked in the shattered World Trade Center.
"We sealed borough hall and most of the staff are gone," she said. "The courts and schools are closed and parents can pick up their children at the schools."
Special police units patrolling public buildings.
"They are deployed," Shulman said, "to protect the public. We dont know what will come next."
Was this the worst disaster she could remember?
"Yes its the worst," she said, her face disconsolate.
Shulman left borough hall early afternoon on Tuesday and drove to New York Hospital Medical Center Queens, where six victims of the World Trade Center explosion were being treated for smoke inhalation. She went to check on the victims and see if the Hospital had a sufficient blood supplies.
It was a cruel ending to Shulmans long reign in borough hall.
At the Hospital, long lines of donors waiting to give blood lined the hallway. A spokesperson said more than 100 were on line.
"We are taking the names and phone numbers of those we cant get to today," she said. "Well call them back as the need arises.
Standing on line with his family and holding a book of psalms was Barry Grodenchik, Shulmans chief administrative officer and a candidate for the city council in a primary election that was postponed because of the disaster in lower Manhattan.
"Im here for anything I can do," Grodenchik said. "I just gave blood because blood is life. We need to take action as a nation against whoever perpetrated these acts. This is an act of war, probably with the connivance of various governments. Maybe we are facing war."
Emily LeBlanc, another concerned blood donor, who moved to Flushing two weeks ago, said she had been waiting two hours to give blood.
"Things will never be the same again," she said. "Will we go to war? I dont know."
Paul Picard, the Hospitals director of public relations, said they treated six victims and expected to release them soon.
"We expect more victims to be brought here," he said. "We dont know how many."
As soon as the first news of the World Trade Center explosion was received, Jamaica Hospital Medical Center and its affiliates, Flushing Hospital and Brookdale Hospital dispatched eight ambulances to the scene. Seven returned with victims, but the eighth did not turn up. At press time, a Jamaica Hospital spokesperson Ole Pederson reported that the ambulance had been buried with rubble from the first airplane crash. The driver turned up late Tuesday afternoon in a New Jersey hospital with a fractured leg. He is expected to be released soon.
Pederson said some television viewers watching the attack on the twin towers had become overwhelmed emotionally and were seeking help from psychologists at the Hospital.
The Hospital was secured by the 102 Precinct that setup its command post there.
A squad of military police from the 800 MP Brigade blocked the entrance to Baysides Fort Totten when a Queens Courier reporting team pulled up. They searched the car and its underbody and then allowed us to tour the base. Military units had been dispatched from the base to help Manhattan firefighters.
Shulman Manages Administrations Worst Crisis
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