HILLSBOROUGH COUNTY, Fla. (WFLA) – This Saturday will mark 20 years since the 9/11 terror attacks on the World Trade Center in New York City.
Damon Plonczynski, who is now a training specialist with the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office, was a New York City Police Department officer for one year when the attacks happened.
“It kind of looked like a painting of an apocalypse,” Plonczynski said.
He distinctly remembers what the area looked after the planes crashed into the towers.
“It was in black and white because the dust was gray. That pulverized concrete and it stuck to everything,” Plonczynski recalled.
Plonczynski told 8 On Your Side he arrived to the scene after the towers had collapsed to find people wandering around in shock of what had just happened.
“People that ran into buildings to save themselves from the falling towers were now coming out into a completely different world. Everything was just covered in that dust,” Plonczynski said.
He worked different recovery efforts following 9/11, eventually ending up at the Staten Island landfill to sift and sort through debris, the last chance to try and identify people.
“It was our job to pick and choose whatever we thought could identify another person. We were looking for anything – a ring, a wallet, a nametag,” added Plonczynski.
After retiring from the NYPD, Plonczynski moved to Florida and has been a training specialist with the Hillsborough County Sheriff’s Office for the past four months. He shares his experiences from 9/11 with the deputies who are in his training classes.