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LIVE FROM THE HEADLINES

Interview With Two Heroes

Aired August 15, 2003 - 20:50   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: With streetlights out, some people took it on themselves to direct traffic. Traffic this morning was much lighter than normal, with many people staying home.
In the past 28 hours, though, since the blackout occurred, there have been many acts of heroism. We're going to speak with two people involved in acts of heroism.

We're going to speak with two people involved in acts of heroism.

Conde Fletcher, Ricardo Ronda, thanks to both of you for joining us.

Ricardo, let me start off with you. You work at a building not far from where the Twin Towers, the World Trade Center once stood. What went through your mind around 4:00 yesterday afternoon when the power went out?

RICARDO RONDA, HERO: Nothing special. It was weird because I told my friends early in the day, something special is going to happen. It was the 14th. My favorite number is 14. I had a big game. At 4:14, the lights, you know -- everything went off. And everyone that was looking outside the window and people were looking outside and a lot of people were getting nervous because of, you know, September 11 and terrorism. And it was an act. But al least some of the phones were OK and we found out it was a power outage, like, mostly on the northeast.

And, you know, I didn't even -- you know, I didn't get too worried about it. I was trying to come calm other people down and, you know, they he did a good job.

BLITZER: What exactly did you do to help some people?

RONDA: My boss, she had, like, ACL surgery -- Ann Marie (ph) -- and she couldn't walk. So we helped her down the stairs. We work in a high rise. So we just helped her. I stood in front of her and we walked down -- everyone was very calm and under control. And then we got to the bottom. And then I was able to drive her home afterwards.

BLITZER: How many floors did you have to carry her down?, basically

RONDA: Six, basically.

BLITZER: That's not too bad.

RONDA: It wasn't too bad. Everyone was calm. It was really dark. There was no power. And then you get into the street, it was like September 11, except people weren't as scared as much because there was a little bit more information and it wasn't terrorism.

BLITZER: All right.

RONDA: So that was pretty much it.

BLITZER: Good work for you, Ricardo.

Conde, you were trapped in a subway for how many hours?

CONDE FLETCHER, HERO: About good hour and a half.

BLITZER: So what happened? Where were you exactly?

FLETCHER: We stopped in between on 66th Street, Central Park, once we found out the distance of the train.

BLITZER: So what happened then? It's dark, I assume, inside. The lights are out.

FLETCHER: The lights was out. The safety lights came on. So therefore everybody -- I mean, it was a stand still and we listened as for instructions of the motormen and the conductor. And they walked back and forth. On the second time of the instructions, they told us there was a blackout. So everybody was listening to see how long we should wait down underground.

BLITZER: So then you -- but then you started to evacuate and you started helping people.

FLETCHER: Yes, I did. I helped every individual that was in the train. I wanted to make sure that all the babies and women and most senior citizens that was in the train, escorted them out and helped them up so they could go outside in the street.

BLITZER: So how many people did you wind up helping? What was the mood in there?

FLETCHER: I believe it was about 400, 500 people.

BLITZER: And were people crying? Were they nervous? Were they hysterical? Were they calm?

FLETCHER: Some was a little nervous and some was a little shaky. But we all kept calm. And there was no accidents, no tragedies. And everybody got out safe from the train.

BLITZER: Conde, thanks very much for that good work. Ricardo, too. Two good jobs by both of you here in New York City. And there' just two of these stories, but there are a lot of other good ones as well.

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