CNN producer swings into action

Sep 17, 2001  •  Post A Comment

Rose Arce was just leaving home in Greenwich Village, not far from the World Trade Center, when she heard the explosion.
“I opened up my cellphone and turned the corner and ran down the street,” she said.
When she could get no closer to the famed twin towers, both now engulfed in flames, she raced inside a building near what soon came to be known as ground zero and sprinted upstairs, knocking on doors as she went, “Until I got somebody to open the door on the top floor.”
When she explained who she was (a CNN producer) and what she needed (a safe vantage point), they said, “OK, you can stay.”
She spent the next several hours on a stranger’s terrace a couple of blocks from the twin towers, where she watched as people, flames at their backs, waved frantically from inside, broke windows at the uppermost levels and then jumped, one by one.
Much later she would hook up with a cameraman, and they would work their way through the dust and debris and acrid smoke from the collapse of both towers, past the doctors and emergency workers flocking toward what was left of the buildings and file a story from a scant two blocks away.
They heard the collapse of a third building. They would move just before the building near them collapsed.
On Sept. 12, after a 20-hour day, she was back in the area at 7:30 a.m.-“I basically took a nap and a shower”-and found “a much more organized situation with areas cordoned off from the press.”
She had zapped out a first-person account for CNN.com, and she would take a call from a reporter on her cellphone. But she wasn’t dwelling on what she had witnessed Sept. 11.
“I can’t think backwards, because if I think backwards, I can’t go forward.”