Savannah native shares experience surviving 9/11 in the Twin Towers

Published: Sep. 10, 2021 at 5:16 PM EDT
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SAVANNAH, Ga. (WTOC) - Saturday marks two decades since the 9/11 terrorist attacks.

For most of us, September 11, 2001 started off like any other day. But for, Savannah native Sheryl Fields, there was something different about that day.

She really didn’t want to go to work, but she pushed through and headed on to World Trade Center Tower Number One where she worked at the Port of New York and New Jersey.

She would quickly realize why she felt so uneasy about that morning. Within minutes of getting settled at work on the 65th floor…

“All of a sudden I heard this loud noise and the building started shaking. You could hear, I guess actually the ceiling in the building falling down above us. It sounded like dominoes falling down,” said 9/11 survivor Sheryl Fields.

Supervisors yelled for them to leave the building, but no one knew what was going on. They headed for the stairwell.

“Basically just get out until we saw the firemen come and then they started bringing down injured people who were badly burned. I think that’s when it really hit us that something very serious was going on. When we got to the 23rd floor, something else happened. We thought it was just dust or smoke coming into the building. That’s when the second plane hit the other building and it blew the windows out in the stairwell where we were. So the debris started coming in the stairwell. They told us to go back up and switch to another stairwell. so we went back up. We went back up about five floors and switched over .When we got to the fifth floor, the lights went out. It was dark in the hallway we couldn’t see where we were going. All of a sudden water started coming down the stairwell like a waterfall behind us. I wasn’t scared before we got to the fifth floor and somebody said come back up. I got very afraid. I just stopped and prayed for God to send somebody to get us out and all of a sudden a fireman came around the corner with a flashlight and said I’m taking you guys out. "

He took them to the ground level called the plaza.

“I have never told anybody what I saw in the plaza because it was all devastating. I think that’s when I really knew this was horrible, we have been attacked and the world looked like it was about to come to an end because there were people scattered all over the plaza and it was just horrible.”

Fields joined the crowd walking away from the towers.

“As we got to Church Street, that’s when we heard the fireman say run. Naturally, we turned around and saw the buildings coming down. All we saw was people moving with their mouths open. We couldn’t hear anything. All of a the sudden it was like the building took his last breath and it was like a puff. That big dust cloud came around the corner and hit us in the face. All I could think about was I needed to get to the phone to call my mother.”

Her mother was recovering from a stroke in Savannah with her sister, Pamela Oglesby. It took about three hours for the family to get the word that Sheryl had survived.

“I’m jumping up and down and all around and say thank you Jesus! Thank you God,” said her sister Pamela Oglesby.

Sheryl Fields suffered injuries to her eyes, legs and feet, but has been fortunate to make a full recovery. While she never wants a tragedy like that to happen again, she longs for the unity we shared after the tragedy.

“I was just amazed at how everybody helped everybody,” she said. “I was praying so hard that it would stay that way. We had no races that day, we had no color that day. Everybody was just a person helping another person. It was so much love and caring, on that particular day and for a while after. It was just so beautiful. And I was praying it will stay that way.”

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