Monday, April 04, 2011

The Rebuilding of Ground Zero, Part 131

A group of families who lost loved ones in the 9/11 attacks are angry over plans for unidentified remains to be placed in a crypt near bedrock at the Ground Zero site. Those remains had been stored at the City's Medical Examiner's Office since the attacks, and new DNA identification technologies have helped identify some of those remains, but more than 1,000 people have never been positively identified.

There is a family group that wants the remains to be placed in an above-ground structure.

I could swear that this issue had been addressed several years ago back when the memorial design was proposed and a solution was sought for where to honor and preserve the unidentified remains, but now that the memorial is on track to open this year, those old wounds are being reopened and the raw emotions of that day will come roaring back for those who lost their loved ones in the blink of an eye without so much a a trace to bury on their own. Indeed, reports from 2005 indicated that the remains would be placed near bedrock - 70 feet below street level - in a mausoleum-like structure.
The WTC remains were originally stored in four huge refrigerated trucks near the medical examiner's office in midtown Manhattan, but they have been dried and sealed in deterioration-proof pouches.

The "Reflecting Absence" memorial plan selected for the World Trade Center site calls for the interment of unidentified human remains at the site's deepest point, 70 feet underground, in a sort of walk-in mausoleum.

Meanwhile, today marks the beginning of the manslaughter trial of three supervisors involved in the deconstruction of the former Deutsche Bank building which caught fire in 2007 and resulted in the death of two firefighters, Robert Beddia and Joseph Graffagnino.
Mitchell Alvo, Jeffrey Melofchik and Salvatore DePaola are charged with manslaughter and criminally negligent homicide in the deaths of firefighters Robert Beddia and Joseph Graffagnino in 2007.

Prosecutors say the men didn’t fix and covered up a major break in a crucial firefighting water pipe.

DePaola, Melofchik and Alvo say they didn’t realize what the pipe was, and the firefighters’ lives were endangered by many other hazards in the building. Mostly, they say they’re small-time scapegoats for a fire fueled by others’ mistakes.

The defendants were supervisors at the construction company hired to demolish the building that was irreparably damaged when the falling south tower of the World Trade Center ripped a 15-story gash into the structure on Sept. 11, 2001. The impact heavily damaged the bank building and filled it with toxic debris.

On Aug. 18, 2007, a construction worker’s discarded cigarette sparked a fire that tore through several stories of the building. Beddia, 53, and Graffagnino, 33, became trapped on the burning 14th floor. They died of smoke inhalation after their oxygen tanks ran out.

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