Daniel Biglin: He escaped death on 9/11; now he gives thanks by supporting first responders

June 14, 2018

By Sandy Barry

Daniel Biglin should have been grabbing his usual morning coffee inside the North Tower of the World Trade Center when the first plane hit on September 11, 2001.

But "by the grace of God," he was late for work that day.

He was taking Morgan, his 4-year-old daughter, to her second day of pre-school in Westfield, New Jersey. His wife had taken her on the first day. Daniel agreed to take her that Tuesday before heading into work in lower Manhattan.


Capt. Daniel Biglin

Morgan was excited to show her dad her new school – the books, the toys, the playground, her cubby.

She wouldn't let go of his hand.

Daniel stole a glance at his watch as he sat with her on tiny chairs at the sand table. He realized he had missed his usual train into his office at One Liberty Plaza, just east of the World Trade Center complex.

He finally made it to the train station a little after 8:30. As he waited for the next train, a voice on the loudspeaker at about 8:50 announced that all trains into lower Manhattan were delayed because an aircraft had hit the North Tower.

"I figured it was a small commuter plane or perhaps a tourist helicopter. So, I went home and turned on the TV news. It was a few minutes after 9. I was just in time to see the 2nd plane hit the South Tower."

He needed to help in order to heal

"My wife always says she's thankful I was not in the city on 9/11 because she knows that if I had survived the initial attack, I would have been inside helping others evacuate when the buildings collapsed. Before I started working in the city, I was an EMT in New Jersey. I rode with a heavy rescue company. I just had that nature of wanting to help in times of crisis," he said.

The building Daniel worked in was heavily damaged, but he was soon back at his desk. His 20th floor office overlooked Ground Zero, where rescue crews dug through the rubble in search of victims.

"Day after day, there was the constant hum of jackhammers. At times, the site would go totally silent. I'd look out the window and see all the first responders lining the ramp that led out of the pit. They stood in silence as a flag-draped stretcher brought another victim up to a waiting ambulance."

As he watched the rescue crews, Daniel realized he needed to help in order to heal from the ordeal. With his wife's blessing, he signed on as a volunteer firefighter in Scotch Plains. Today, he's a captain in the department.

The tech company he worked for lost most of its customers in the terrorist attacks, and soon shut down. Daniel came to work for AT&T, joining our FirstNet team in 2013.

Today, he meets with local chiefs of police, fire and EMS organizations to explain FirstNet benefits and encourage them to subscribe. He says it's the best job ever.

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