1. The Ground Zero fires burned for almost 100 days.
It took 99 days—until December 19, 2001—for the fires at Ground Zero to be extinguished. “You couldn’t even begin to imagine how much water was pumped in there,” said Tom Manley, a firefighters’ union representative. “It was like you were creating a giant lake.” The fire caused by the attack on the Pentagon took approximately 36 hours to put out.
2. The cleanup took more than eight months.
Cleanup at Ground Zero wasn’t officially completed until May 30, 2002. It took 3.1 million hours of labor to clean up 1.8 million tons of debris at a total cost of $750 million.
3. 20 people were rescued from Ground Zero.
There were 20 people pulled from the rubble in the two days after the attack. On the day after the attacks, 11 people were rescued from the wreckage, including six firefighters and three police officers. Two Port Authority police officers were also rescued after spending nearly 24 hours beneath 30 feet of rubble.
4. Almost 3,000 people have died because of the 9/11 attacks.
To date, 2,977 people (not counting the 19 hijackers) lost their lives on 9/11. The numbers include the 125 people who were killed at the Pentagon, all 246 passengers and crew aboard the four planes that crashed, and 2,606 people who died—then or later—of injuries at Ground Zero.
5. More than 1,500 people have died from 9/11-related cancers.
In 2010, Congress created the WTC Health Program to provide medical monitoring and treatment for emergency responders, recovery, and cleanup workers, and volunteers who helped after the terrorist attacks. As of June 2021, the number of Ground Zero responders enrolled in the program was 81,460 and the numbers of survivors enrolled was 30,582. About 23,710 have contracted one or more cancers and qualified for treatment under the program. Of those, 1,510 have died.
6. The steel at Ground Zero was recycled for various purposes—including memorials.
About 185,101 tons of steel were removed from Ground Zero. Most of that steel was sent to New Jersey salvage yards, where it was broken down and sent all over the world for reuse, especially to China and India. Nearly 350,000 tons of the steel were sent to be reused in small- and large-scale tributes, including 7.5 tons for use in the Navy battleship USS New York.
7. Grounding of aircraft caused the temperature to rise across the U.S.
For the first time in history, all nonemergency civilian aircraft in the United States were grounded for three days. The lack of condensation trails (contrails) from jet aircraft caused the average temperature across the U.S. to rise by an average of 1.8 degrees Celsius.
8. The trauma of 9/11 was passed on to children before their birth.
A longitudinal study of 38 women who were pregnant on 9/11 and were either at or near the World Trade Center at the time of the attack found that those who developed Post-Traumatic Stress Disorder (PTSD) after exposure to the attacks had significantly lower cortisol levels in their saliva than those who were similarly exposed but did not develop PTSD. The children of women who were traumatized as a result of 9/11 subsequently experienced an increased distress response when shown novel stimuli, suggesting that the effects of the trauma were passed on to the children before their birth.
9. The Ground Zero Cross became a spiritual symbol of hope.
On September 13 a worker at the site, Frank Silecchia, discovered a 20-foot cross of two steel beams among the debris. The beams were dubbed the “Ground Zero Cross” and became a spiritual symbol for families of the victims and workers who cleaned up the debris.