HEAT ALERT

Extreme heat blankets the region with heat advisory, air quality alert issued for the Hudson Valley

9/11: 20 years later - News 12's Eileen Lehpamer recounts day she never stopped recording

Eileen Lehpamer says her assignment on Sept. 11, 2001 was to cover a story about Catholic school teachers when all of sudden she had to quickly pivot and rush down to the World Trade Center.

News 12 Staff

Sep 10, 2021, 9:30 PM

Updated 1,011 days ago

Share:

News 12 reporter Eileen Lehpamer was in her first-year reporting and recounts what is like working the day of the Sept. 11 attacks. 
Lehpamer says her assignment on Sept. 11, 2001 was to cover a story about Catholic school teachers when all of sudden she had to quickly pivot and rush down to the World Trade Center.
"My assignment that morning, the Catholic school teachers had been threatening to strike and they started to picket that morning," Lehpamer says. "So that's why I was already out with my reporting equipment and already out there."
She remembers being told hurry get down to the World Trade Center, a plane just hit it.
Lehpamer immediately hailed a cab. "And I jump out at the federal courthouse because I knew I had to run to the World Trade Center.
"And as I was running along by City Hall as I got there that's when I first looked up and the gaping hole," says Lehpamer. "I remember thinking to myself, oh, that's not a small plane."
Lehpamer remembers running into a woman named Susan who was supposed to be in the World Trade Center that day but was late for work.
Lehpamer says there was screaming and total chaos.
Then the unthinkable happened.
"He yelled 'towers coming down, the towers coming down.' I thought he was crazy, because how could that happen? Then I remember thinking, I'm a block and a half from the tower, is it going to fall this way? Or this way? I thought it was going to be like tree falling. I didn't think it would pancake. But then as I'm on the street corner, deciding in an instant, where do I go, where do I run? What do I do? And then it was like an earthquake, the entire ground was shaking as it was coming down and then he was yelling, and he was pushing us so now there was a swarm of people. I got pushed into the doorway of a building, right across from City Hall."
Lehpamer says she is grateful for the police officer for yelling and screaming and pushing people to safety.


More from News 12