9/11 Hero Story: John Incampo

“The attack on the World Trade Center on September 11th was devastating for thousands of people, but there were numerous Port Authority employees who stayed in the buildings and faced danger to help others.

“On September 11th, at the time of the attack, John Incampo, PATH Car Inspector, was at the PATH World Trade Center Station, his regularly assigned post.  When the first plane struck Tower One, the lights flickered and dimmed and there was an immediate smell of burning on the platform level.  John, believing there might be a fire in the tunnel, went to the Car Inspector’s equipment locker and returned with a high-power lantern.  At that time, the World Trade Center Train Dispatcher informed John that a plane had struck the building and they were instructed to evacuate.  Before evacuating, John checked the train left on Platform 3. There he found three passengers seated in the head car waiting to go to Hoboken, and led them out of the Station.  At the top of the Concourse escalators, John assisted other people, helping a man with chest pains until they were all safely out of the building.

“John then proceeded to Broadway and Vesey Street to await instructions having been unsuccessful in contacting the PATH Control Center by portable radio.  It was at this time that Tower Two began to collapse. Hearing the roar, John sought shelter in the doorway of a building to avoid being covered by the debris cloud.  When the noise subsided, John found himself covered with dust in near total darkness.  He turned on his lantern to peer through the blinding dust that hung over the area.  Other survivors, able to make out the beam of John’s lantern, made their way to him.  John led this group of people North, away from the vicinity of the World Trade Center, using his lantern to make their way through the darkened, debris-strewn streets. Near the Brooklyn Bridge, the dust cloud had dissipated and the people with John were able to make their own way to safety and home.

“For repeatedly taking action to insure the safety of the public at great personal risk to himself, and for dispatching his responsibilities as a representative of the Port Authority Trans-Hudson Corporation, in manner bringing great credit to his organization, Car Inspector John Incampo is nominated for the September 11th Commendation Award.”