9/11 survivor from Norfolk recounts experience 20 years on

  • Listen to Janice Brooks share her story

This week marks 20 years since the city of New York came under terrorist attack and the twin towers were brought to the ground killing nearly 3,000 people. Janice Brooks, who now lives near Harleston in South Norfolk, was working as a PA on the 84th floor of the South Tower of the World Trade Center when she heard a dull thud. The London office had seen the television pictures of a hijacked plane being deliberately flown into the neighbouring tower and told her to get out.Janice ran to the fire exit eventually abandoning her high heels.

61 of Janice's colleagues at Euro Brokers were killed in the terrorist attack.

She keeps their memory alive by talking to schools about what happened through the charity. 

Here are her words about what she went through...

"We were probably going down probably fifteen, twenty flights of stairs and there was an announcement.

'We have been asked not to evacuate 2 World Trade the space is needed on the plaza for those being evacuated from One World Trade, We're asking you please to re-enter the building at your nearest re-entry point and return to your office'.

Started walking up. There was this dull thud.

The lights flickered on and off. The building kind of trembled.

Some of the guys fell to the floor. I kind of tumbled to the wall. I didn't go down on my knees but I tumbled to the wall.

The ceiling caved in, lights again flicking on and off, dust everywhere. People are coughing, the girls in front were crying. The grid of the ceiling, the metal grid had fallen down.

Whilst we were dusting ourselves down and standing up again and making sure everyone was ok there was this high pitched scream. A woman screaming. One of those horror film screams that just go on forever and I can hear it in my head now. And then finally the lady came through and she had long dark hair. She shook her hair and glass showered everyone."I can't see. I can't see" And one of her eyes was just blood.

We heard a loud hissing sound and as we looked over we saw a fireball coming towards us and as we ran back to the door the windows all shattered. We think that the building next door has fallen into us, carried on going down.

My shirt, I had blood all over my shirt and I just stopped and I felt a scream building in me inside of me and I just cried. At some stage we saw three firemen walking past us going up, had all the gear on, we could hear the walkie talkie crackling.

We finally got down to the plaza level and there were firemen and there were policemen.

There was this big burly American cop - "Ok kids," he said "Don't look up, don't look back, run."

At one point we turned a corner and I was able to look up to the towers and where our floor should have been was a huge gaping hole and flames and dust and I just stood there and cried."

Anyone affected by this story and looking for help or advice can contact:

  • NHS's mental health support website for help and support with PTSD, anxiety and other mental health concerns.

  • Mind the mental health charity which promotes the views and needs of people with mental health issues. Phone 0300 123 3393 (Monday - Friday, 9am - 6pm)

  • The Mental Health Foundation provides information and support for anyone with mental health problems or learning disabilities.

  • CALM the Campaign Against Living Miserably Phone 0800 585858 (Daily, 5pm to midnight)

  • Samaritans an organisation offering confidential support for people experiencing feelings of distress or despair. Phone 116 123 (a free 24 hour helpline)