Among the first on scene at the World Trade Center was paramedic Juana Lomi. Standing outside NYU Downtown Hospital, Lomi witnessed the passage of hijacked Flight 11 flying low overhead and felt the ground rumble as the plane struck the North Tower. Lomi and her partner immediately drove to the scene and parked their ambulance near the North Tower.
Inside the ambulance was a red emergency trauma kit, stocked with supplies that would be needed to treat the injured. Separately, after hearing that a plane had crashed into the World Trade Center, MetroCare EMT Yamel Josefina Merino
and her partner drove downtown from the Bronx in their ambulance. They reported to a triage area near the South Tower, which had been struck by another hijacked airplane by the time they arrived on scene.
As the streets filled with debris, Lomi, Merino, and their partners assisted the injured, the traumatized, and those attempting to flee the escalating disaster. Merino was killed in the collapse of the South Tower. Lomi heard the building collapsing from her post near the North Tower. She remained on duty, finding shelter when the North Tower fell. Lomi summarized her experience in a caption accompanying her picture in McNally’s Faces of Ground Zero
: “It was an overwhelming feeling of fear, horror—and not being able to do more. There were hundreds of people that needed to be treated. I was at risk of losing my life, but I had to stay and help other people.”
Lomi has contributed her story to the 9/11 Memorial Museum’s oral history collection. The red trauma kit
she likely used on 9/11 was also donated to the Museum collection.