New York Aftermath: Clean-Up Goes On
With armed soldiers, police guards and even armored tanks poised ready -- as they have been since Tuesday -- Lower Manhattan looks like a war zone Thursday morning. Rescue workers continue to dig through debris and body parts in the dwindling hope of finding signs of life amid the smoking remains of the twin World Trade Center towers. All that remains of the 110-story north tower, which was personally witnessed by this PEOPLE.com reporter during Wednesday's sunset, are frail, bent skeletal remains of no more than six stories of exterior steel shell. As the clean-up and rescue work continued, a thick cloud of acrid, white smoke wafted uptown through Manhattan streets Wednesday after the four-story fragment of the south tower collapsed. Gusts of flame occasionally jumped up as debris was removed from the smoldering wreckage, and there were threats of losing other, surrounding structures (including a skyscraper in whose ground floor Brooks Brothers store has been serving as a temporary morgue, often receiving body remains one part at a time.) On Wednesday, say reports, five people were pulled alive from the rubble -- three of them police officers. But the dead far outweighed the living: a total of 82 bodies have been recovered so far, and New York Mayor Rudolph Giuliani hinted at fading hopes. The Associated Press reports that the city has requested 6,000 body bags from federal officials; CNN places that number at 10,000. Giuliani also said at a bipartisan news conference on Wednesday night (a gathering that also included New York Gov. George Pataki and Senators Chuck Schumer and Hillary Rodham Clinton), that, on Wednesday alone, some 3,000 tons of debris were removed from the Trade Center site. All the politicians vowed that this tragedy would make New York stronger.
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