September 11, 2001 was an unusually warm day in New York. Will Jimeno, an officer with the Port Authority Police Department, was tempted to take a personal day to enjoy his hobby of bow hunting, but ultimately decided that he would go to work. Sergeant John McLoughlin, a respected veteran of the PAPD, had been up for hours – a requirement of his daily, 1 1/2-hour trek to the city. They and their colleagues made their way to midtown Manhattan, just like they did any other day. Only this wasn’t any other day.
A team of PAPD first responders drove from mid-town Manhattan to the World Trade Center. Five men, including McLoughlin and Jimeno, went into the buildings themselves and were trapped when the towers collapsed. Miraculously, McLoughlin and Jimeno survived, but were buried and pinned beneath slabs of concrete and twisted metal, 20 feet below the rubble field. Though they couldn’t see each other, each could hear that the other had survived, and for the next 12 hours, McLoughlin and Jimeno kept each other alive – talking about their families, their lives on the force, their hopes, their disappointments. Their story is told in the new motion picture from Oliver Stone, “World Trade Center.”
The film also follows their wives (Donna McLoughlin in Goshen, New York, and Allison Jimeno in Clifton, New Jersey), children, and parents who suffered in their own confined circle of hell, with no messages from or information about their loved ones. The film also chronicles the improbable search by a determined accountant and ex-Marine from Connecticut, Dave Karnes, who found the two officers that night, and then the dozens of firemen, policemen, and paramedics who rescued them over the next grueling 12 hours.