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Feb. 26 marks 26 years since first World Trade Center attack | TribLIVE.com
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Feb. 26 marks 26 years since first World Trade Center attack

Jamie Martines
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AP
Workers peer through broken windows of the World Trade Center in New York, Feb. 26, 1993, after an explosion in an underground garage rocked the twin towers complex. Heavy smoke, caused by underground fires, was reported throughout the buildings, causing the evacuation of the buildings.

Today marks 26 years since six people were killed and more than 1,000 were injured in the Feb. 26, 1993 attack on New York’s World Trade Center.

At 12:18 p.m., a small group of terrorists detonated about 1,200 pounds of explosives in the underground parking garage below the World Trade Center complex in lower Manhattan by driving a rental van into the space, according to an overview of the attack provided by the 9/11 Memorial and Museum in New York City.

Among those injured were 88 firefighters, 35 police officers and an emergency medical services worker, according to the 9/11 Memorial and Museum website.

It took more than four hours to evacuate about 50,000 people from the complex.

The North Tower lobby filled with smoke, and several areas within the North and South towers lost power. Hundreds of people were trapped in elevators as the emergency power generators, which were damaged in the explosion, failed.

Speaking with radio station WCBS, former New York City Police Department Commissioner Raymond Kelly recalled evaluating the damage with a Port Authority engineer.

“We were looking at the, sort of the base of the building, and he made a statement: ‘These buildings could never come down,’” Kelly said.

A five-story crater below the complex was created by the explosion.

Though several security measures were put in place following the attack, Kelly said more should have been learned.

“Vehicle checks were installed in so many places, the World Trade Center itself received security upgrades, probably over $1 million, but it was all pretty much on the ground,” Kelly told WCBS. “We simply didn’t anticipate attacks by aircrafts.”

Of the six men convicted for the bombing, five are serving their sentences at a maximum-security prison in Colorado, according to the 9/11 Memorial and Museum website. A sixth is serving his sentence at a facility in Indiana. The case remains open because a seventh alleged conspirator was never caught.

Jamie Martines is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Jamie at 724-850-2867, [email protected] or via Twitter .

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