The fiasco was continuing to unfold on Morton Lane. Hanna did not know it but the red-hot metal that had been blown in the woods started a brush fire that was behind her, working towards where she and the camera man were standing. I sent my four guys to help her and the camera man across the ditch.
By now there were dozens of trucks behind the EMT van wanting to get out. Bob’s Construction supply chain was now halted.
I called Bob’s cell, “Send the trucks across the field. They can get out onto the dirt road and back to the highway by the farmhouse there. They should have no problem with the frozen ground. I will get the trucks here turned around and headed back to you.”
“What the hell happened – the explosion was deafening!” he said.
“You will have to see it to believe it, come take a look when you get a chance,” I replied.
I called Jake, “Are you and Dad together? If not, find him or someone and bring the big front-end loader with the forks to the security gate.”
“Andy, find all the drivers to these trucks and turn them around, send them back to the job site. Bob will show them how to get out from there,” I instructed.
It was nearly dark but all the fire truck light towers were high and working; it looked almost like full daylight. The local fire chief walked up, “The brush fires are out and so are all the vehicles. We are going to release most of the equipment. The State Highway department has closed off the outside lane. What do you need us to leave?”
“A couple trucks with those light towers to help with the investigation and to look for unexploded ordnance would be nice. I am sure the agencies would appreciate it. I gave them an hour to do their thing before I open the road.” I replied.
Hanna was taking advantage of the light and confusion before officials could run her away. She and the camera man were walking around everything shooting film. “I want copies of all the film – uncut,” I said when she answered her phone.
“Will you give me a quick interview? I know you are swamped,” she asked.
“Work your way back here and make it a quick one,” I replied. By now my reinforcements had arrived without asking. I had 25 of the RRT team, the other five were still at the gym with JBG security jackets, issued hats and M16s, along with the 20 from Rochester police in full SWAT gear; training was finished for the day. They were all surveying the site.
The air was filled with news and government choppers from everywhere, with spotlights, trying to get a look at the carnage.
I called the tower’s phone line, “Make the area east of runway 4/22 for 1 mile and 1 mile north and south of the centerline of the airport to 5,000 feet a no fly zone immediately or restricted air space.”
“The FAA has to do that,” the person on the end of the phone said.
“The way they are jockeying around for best picture up there, there is going to be a midair collision to rain fire and debris down on us. Add it to the airport information broadcast and inform all aircraft in the vicinity of and approaching the airport. The feds and I can argue the technically of the order tomorrow,” I replied.
“Yes Ma-am,” the tower said.
The road from the terminal was filled with people carrying gear walking from the terminal. Others were being brought by all the gators we had there. I guessed all the agencies were coming by chopper if they could. Eric must have rattled cages when I gave him such a short time line.
Hanna had made quick work getting to me; when I looked around I knew why. There were two other news teams walking down the road from the highway towards us.
“Chris, take 6 men, walk those news teams back to the highway and anyone else that is not in turnout gear or has a state or federal badge. Then limit access to this road,” I said.
“Yes Ma-am,” Chris replied.
I turned to Hanna, “Get started,” I said.
“BJ; first, are you OK? When I got here you and your people were getting medical attention. You and your people looked pretty bad,” Hanna asked.
“The explosion blew us back and into the ditch, but by luck that saved us from the flying metal and the fireball,” I replied.
“How many of your people were injured?” Hanna asked.
“Five of us, all minor,” I replied.
“BJ, there are a lot of JBG security people here. I have never seen that many here before, did you know something was going to happen?” Hanna asked.
“We have over a thousand security employees now so there always going to be plenty here for recertification; it is part of a continuous cycle. With everything else going on in the world today we used them to beef up all sites today,” I replied.
“How long is it going to take to clean all this mess up?” Hanna asked
“With good luck, we will have the road open in a couple of hours,” I replied.
“BJ, I am not sure a lot of luck has been with you today from the looks of things here,” Hanna replied.
“Hanna, maybe not complete luck but look at all the possibilities, they could have chosen different soft targets. Can you imagine if they had driven those vans into a shopping center or three schools? The casualty list would have been tremendous. They chose the wrong soft target that turned into a brick wall.”
“We got cuts and bruises and lost half a million in equipment, but they are the only ones on the casualty list. The equipment can be replaced by writing a check. I call that luck, good luck for us – bad luck for them.”
“They expended hard-to-get explosives, and hopefully left a trail of evidence for DHS and the FBI to use. And they lost people willing to be martyrs with no gain for their cause, all bad luck for them,” I said.
“BJ, thanks for taking the time to talk to me,” Hanna replied. When the little red light went out on the camera Hanna closed the gap between us and gave me a hug, “God, I am glad you are OK, thanks for the early tip.”
I heard the big front end loader coming to a stop behind me. The two gators were back this time; one had all the girls and Jason. The other gator had Eric, Frank, Marty and a couple of people I did not know.
I met the girls at the gator in case they were going to unload on me for being in the middle of a fight again.
“We came to look at the mess before you cleaned it all up. We were lucky, if they had done this to the gym or gotten to the terminal it would have been messy,” Jenny said and then she and the girls hugged me.
I gave the agency groups, the girls, Jake and Dad a blow by blow description of the events as we walked around the mess.
“How do you want to deal with the junk?” Jake asked
“The cars, Suburban and the dump truck take back to the construction site. They will make good props back there,” I replied. “Just put them in a row until the insurance adjustors look at them. In fact, do the same with the vans; they can get them back when they pay for this mess.”
“The cars and Suburban are no problem – that dump truck is going to have to be loaded on a trailer, I think,” Jake replied.
“Get the other front end loader after everything else is out of the way and pick it up on both ends by chain,” I replied.
“How long is it going to be before you remove the bodies from the vans?” I asked Frank
“It is going to take a while,” he said.
“After we get the cars moved, if you want we can pick up what is left of the vans with the forks and put them in a hangar. Then you can take all the time you need.”
As an after-thought I took a group of pictures with my cell and sent them to Bob Jackson and Mr. Nobles, “I am going to have to buy you a new Suburban. It is the pile of junk by the dump truck.”
Captain Peters, Captain Hamilton and the twenty from Rochester had taken the tour and I was sure plenty of pictures were sent back to the home office.
“When you throw a party you, throw one hell-of-a-one. We are kind of hurt that we were not close enough to help with the fireworks but damn, I’m glad that this happened here and not in Rochester,” Peters said.
“When I get a copy of live video, you can critique it before you go back,” I said laughing.
“Follow me; let me introduce you to a couple of my friends. Captain Peters, Captain Hamilton, this is Eric Robinson Director DHS, Director Frank Love CIA, and Director Marty Coeburn FBI,” I said.
“I’m glad she introduced us as friends! I would hate like hell to be on her enemies list,” Eric replied as handshakes were taking place.
Our security cars were moved first – after the various departments looked them over for body fragments – to the construction site. Then the vans, one at a time, were put into one of the side hangars on the super hangar after wrapping them with shrink wrap to keep from losing anything along the way. Jake set them on pallets and dino pads to protect the fancy floor.
The KCC Suburban was moved next. The final piece was the dump truck. It was all that both front-end loaders could do to maneuver 30,000 pounds of burnt truck back to the site; it was a trip listening to Jake and Dad trying to get working together on the radio. An hour later it was parked with the rest.
The road was swept with hand brooms and every piece was bagged by the investigators. Tomorrow in daylight the shoulder, ditch and woods on both side of the road was going to get searched inch by inch at a time by experts looking for the tiniest piece of evidence.
Bob had stayed the whole time and after the sweeping was done, he looked at the damaged road, “150 feet of the road is going to have to be replaced. I will bring blacktop patch tomorrow morning to fill the bad holes until I can find a contractor to do it properly,” he replied to my questions.
By midnight I snuggled close to Jenny after calm conversation at the table with my mates. I was tired and my body hurt from being blown in the ditch. Sleep came easily.
Edit by Alfmeister
Proof read by Bob W.