9/11 Stories: WTC Survivor Tim Frolich

Working on the 80th floor of the South Tower for Fuji Bank Unlimited, Tim Frolich almost died at least twice on 9/11.

Once, he was saved by fate; the second, his death was thwarted by the only female Port Authority cop to die that day, 46-year-old Captain Cathy Mazza, Port Authority Police Lt. Robert Cirri, who also died later that day, and an unknown New York City firefighter. Frolich and his best friend, Jack Andreacchio, were voluntary fire wardens for the 80th floor of The South Tower.

After the North Tower was hit, PA announcements in the South Tower advised that the situation in the North Tower was controlled, and everyone should stay in place. But with the smell of smoke soon permeating the halls of the 80th floor of the South Tower, Tim and Jack walked the stairs to the higher floors of the Fuji Bank offices, advising people to come down to the lower floors. Frolich remembers four to five Senior Vice-Presidents refusing to leave.

They were among the 25 to 30 Fuji Bank employees who died minutes later. With more smoke filling hallways, Frolich and his best friend started the walk down to the lobby. Stopping to rest at the 60th floor, then pushing open a door, he heard a pop. Ceiling tiles came raining down. Thrown to the floor, he had no clue that the South Tower had just been hit by the second plane between the 75 and 85th floors, from where Tim and Jack had escaped minutes earlier. Tim made it down safely just before the South Tower collapsed.

Jack apparently headed back up the stairs to help others to safety, one of the near-3,000 to die that day in Lower Manhattan. Minutes after Frolich left the South Tower, the building collapsed. Frolich was caught in the dust cloud. Everything went pitch black. Someone yelled “Run!"

Frolich cried out, “Where are we running to?” Someone (who turned out to be an FDNY’er) reached out and grabbed him, pulling him into a building and down a stairwell. Both fell down the stairs. Frolich heard a snap. It was his ankle. He couldn’t walk. The firefighter who had pulled him in to safety told him to stay put, that he would be back to help get him out. A long 30 minutes later, that still unidentified firefighter returned with Port Authority Police Captain Cathy Mazza and PA Police Lt. Robert Cirri, who all carried him to safety.

The Port Authority cops died later that day, trying to save others. Frolich is still trying to find the firefighter. All he knows is he was with Engine 10/Ladder 10, the firehouse closest to The World Trade Center.

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