What’s Pellissippi’s tie to the terror attack of 9/11?

by Stephen Gyebison

As Americans looked in horror at the black smoke billowing from both towers of the World Trade Center in New York City on Sept. 11, 2001, one of our own had to spring into action.

Fred Breiner, who is now the director of safety and security at Pellissippi State, was a detective captain for the New York Police Department.

“ I was sleeping when the first plane hit the World Trade Center,” he said. “I had worked late the night before. I was actually stuck on a job until  the early morning hours at a shooting where we had to gather some information for the police commissioner.”

I figured there will be mobilization because it is a major disaster in a very high-density area. I thought they will need every possible hand. I called work and found they would not mobilize.”

He said, “Initially it could have just been an accident,” he said.

Second Plane Hits

Breiner learned more when he turned on the TV. After the second plane hit, I called work again to see if we needed to be mobilized. Again they didn’t mobilize us, he said.

Two hours later, New York send out a broadcast mobilizing fire and police officers.

Knowing Those Who Died

Breiner knew some who died in the tragedy.  “I had two police officers that I worked with for a short period of time who died,” he said.  “I had actually been their supervisor. I also knew several firefighters who lost their lives.”

“Almost everybody in New York knew somebody who died,” he remembered.

Breiner worked on the scene between 40 and 100 hours. Because he worked in Brooklyn, he was kept in his assigned area just in case there was public unrest.

“Sometimes there is looting and rioting when you have something like that,” he said. 

It was almost a week before officers were assigned outside their burroughs. They went to Ground Zero, and he worked side by side with officers and supervisors. They saw body parts removed from the debris.

Health Hazards

 “I am being monitored by the World Trade Center monitoring crew for health reasons because of the smoke and possible chemicals. But I was not affected by it,” he said.

“Initially we didn’t have any kind of protection. Then they gave us dust masks, and later they gave us a respirator, which I wore all the time.”

Breiner said he could see the smoke from his house, which was 30 miles from the incident.

Different parts of the federal government were investigating events leading up the 9/11 attack, he said. But they could not put the pieces together in time to stop the attack.

“The different units were not investigating as well as they should have,” he said.

Breiner was a police officer in New York City in 1993 during the first attack on the World Trade Center. “I attended training,” he said. “Basically it was terrorist training. It was pretty serious back then.”

Breiner worked for the NYPD until 2003 when he retired because it got too stressful, he said.

“I had a great career,” he said. “It was just time to leave.”





Saturday, April 6th, 2013

Campus crime rate falling

by Matthew Shields

Crime reported on state college campuses dropped by about 6 percent last year.

According to the latest Tennessee Bureau of Investigation report, violent crimes decreased 25 percent statewide. Thefts accounted for 38 percent of the crimes across the state campuses, which made thefts the largest number of crimes reported.

Pellissippi State Technical Community College reported two assault offenses, 17 theft offenses, one motor vehicle theft and eight vandalism offenses.

Saturday, April 25th, 2009