— -- The underground fires that have burned since the Sept. 11 attacks are now extinguished; the flag-raising photo from Sept. 11 is becoming one of the day's most powerful images; President Bush has dubbed the day Patriot Day; the death toll in New York is down to 3,000; and security on the ground is getting tighter.
Ground Zero Fire Extinguished
N E W Y O R K, Dec. 19 —
The underground fires that have burned at theWorld Trade Center site for the past three months have finally beenextinguished, Gov. George Pataki said today.
"Just in the last week the fires have actually been put out,"Pataki told a group of about 50 elected officials during a tour ofthe scene.
Fire officials confirmed that the fires are now consideredextinguished. The fire officials said, however, that they cannot rule out thepossibility that a small pocket might still be burning.
"It is pretty well contained," said firefighter Robert Calise,a spokesman for the department. "There might be some pockets stillburning, but we consider the fire to be out."
Calise said a firetruck remains on standby at the site for dustcontrol and if any pockets of fire are discovered. He said noofficial time was recorded for when the fires were extinguished.
The fires had smoldered for months beneath the trade centerdebris, sending acrid clouds of smoke that could be smelled attimes several miles away in Brooklyn and upper Manhattan.
The fires were fueled by almost everything inside the towers,from documents to office furniture. As demolition and rescue crewstoiled to clear the debris air pockets would open, allowing freshoxygen to cause hot spots to flare up.
For months the fires had required fire trucks to spray a nearlyconstant jet of water on them, and at times, slowed the work ofclearing the site.
— The Associated Press
Photo Becomes Powerful Image of Sept.11
N E W A R K, N.J., Dec. 19 — The photo has appeared on T-shirts, buttons and Christmas ornaments. It hangs at firehouses across the nation. A mural of it was painted on the walls of a Louisiana prison. And copies were left as a calling card in Afghanistan by U.S. commandos.
The photo of three firefighters raising a flag amid the ruins of the World Trade Center has become one of the most powerful images of the disaster.