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Published 9:59 AM EDT Sep 11, 2019
This article originally published Sept. 12, 2001.
Delawareans flooded blood donation sites and local medical workers converged on the New York City area to help victims of Tuesday’s terrorist attacks.
Later Tuesday, thousands of people turned out throughout the state for religious services.
Some patients from the attacks could be brought to Delaware hospitals.
A team of nearly 70 intensive care workers from Christiana Hospital headed to a medical staging area at the Meadowlands Stadium in New Jersey. St. Francis Hospital sent medical supplies.
Two caravans of nearly 50 Delaware ambulances and a medical helicopter from Christiana Care and volunteer rescue companies throughout the state also headed to the Meadowlands. New Castle County sent seven paramedics and a police officer.
“We already know the caliber of the people who did this,” said Connie Jennings, 65, of Prices Corner as she stood in a three hour line to donate blood. “They need to know the caliber of who we are. They don’t understand the love and pride we have for this country. We’ll do anything.”
State offices, schools and businesses that had closed Tuesday will re-open today. The Delaware National Guard and Dover Air Force Base remained in heightened states of alert.
Delaware falls in what must be considered the area targeted by terrorists, said University of Delaware professor Mark J. Miller, an expert in political terrorism.
“We are part of this strategic area for someone who wants to do great damage,” he said.
At the Blood Bank of Delaware/Eastern Shore in Christiana, donors parked on the grass and brought lawn chairs for the long wait.
“I just felt like we should do something,” said Brenda Sudler, 42, of North Wilmington. She was in the Christiana area on business and decided to get in the blood donation line.
“It’s such a tragedy I can’t believe it,” she said.
At a blood drive at the University of Delaware, donors waited up to three hours in line. Blood Bank spokesman David Bonk said staff planned to take donations as long as possible.
The blood bank’s Dover office was to be closed Tuesday but opened to meet the donor demand. Every staff member trained to draw blood was called in to work, Bonk said.
Bonk said donors should consider giving blood later this week because the agency was overwhelmed Tuesday.
Throughout the state, churches held special services Tuesday night and planned more for today.
Delaware’s political leaders called for calm and a quick response to the attacks.
Gov. Ruth Ann Minner closed all Delaware state offices and schools and sent non-essential state employees home. She urged businesses to close, and many did.
After conferring with state and federal emergency management officials Tuesday night, Minner decided there was no reason to keep schools closed today, said her spokesman, Gregory Patterson.
Many schools throughout the state were expected to have their counseling staffs ready to help students with questions about the tragedy, Patterson said.
Minner had been attending a housing meeting in Dover when she learned of the attacks.
“With new attacks coming at a frightening pace over the morning, we decided to take the most cautious route,” Minner said. “Parents were concerned, and I wanted families to be able to be together.”
Rep. Mike Castle was in his Washington office at the time of the attacks. Sens. Joe Biden and Tom Carper were on their way to the capital and arrived later Tuesday morning.
Biden stressed the importance of remaining calm, especially in the nation’s capital.
“It’s important that we open up and be back in business as soon as possible to demonstrate to the world that this horrible series of incidents is not enough to alter the standing position and function of the government, or to change our values or change our resolve,” he said.
Carper said the list of questions raised by the attacks is long.
“If you consider the sophistication of this operation — well-planned, well-executed, devastatingly effective — this was not an operation that was launched without forethought,” Carper said. “I wonder why we didn’t know.”
The security breach also concerned Castle.
“I’ve often said the greatest danger that faces America is terrorism,” he said. “Obviously, we saw it in this incredible act. … It is very alarming that four airplanes were taken over by terrorists. That’s amazing with all the security we have there.”
Medical workers help
The contingent of Delaware medical workers sent to New Jersey is part of an unprecedented activation of the national medical emergency system by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services. The order will send roughly 7,000 volunteer doctors, nurses, pharmacists and other medical staff to areas affected by the attacks.
St. Francis Hospital reserved 40 beds for patients from New York City, said hospital spokeswoman Dana Davis. Select Specialty Hospital of Wilmington, located on St. Francis’ fifth floor, reserved 15 beds, Davis said.
One of the convoys included about two dozen ambulances from volunteer fire companies in Kent and Sussex counties, said Rosanne Pack, spokeswoman for the Delaware Emergency Management Agency,
The ambulances gathered at the Delaware State Fire School in Dover and left about 5:15 p.m.
The other convoy of ambulances from Christiana Care and volunteer companies in New Castle County left about 4:30 p.m.
The team from Christiana Hospital will treat people at the Meadowlands, said hospital spokeswoman Michele Schiavoni.
The team consisted of four doctors, 11 nurses, five respiratory therapists, three flight paramedics, 20 emergency med ical technicians and 24 other Christiana Care workers, said Dr. Thomas Sweeney, associate chairman of emergency medicine at Christiana.
“We do not know yet what we are going to find,” Sweeney said. “This has been a remarkable team effort between hospitals, fire companies and paramedics to get this convoy on the road within three hours of the original request.”
Wilmington spokesman John Rago said Wilmington emergency response crews will work in New Castle County because of the vehicles taking part in Christiana’s effort.
Maj. Gen. Frank Vavala, commander of the Delaware National Guard, said his units were on their highest alert level, as were all U.S. military units. But the federal government had not activated any Delaware guard units Tuesday night.
“We have shut down some of the entrances to our facilities and have been checking the parking lots,” Vavala said. “We’ve got two of our aeromedical evacuation planes and crews standing by in case they’re needed.”
The Delaware Guard, which has 1,800 Army and 1,000 Air Guard troops, sent a unit to work with the Delaware Emergency Management Agency
At Dover Air Force Base, commanders increased vigilance and limited access to the base. By early afternoon, nobody without a Department of Defense identification card was admitted
“We’ve suspended flight operations and closed the commissary, the base exchange, the museum and the club, and we’ve canceled all tours,” Tech said.
Coast Guard officials said stations along the Delmarva Peninsula also were on alert, screening people coming and going from their barracks and stepping up patrols.
Cmdr. Mark Ogle of Coast Guard Group Eastern Shore in Chincoteague, Va., said stations had received no reports of anything suspicious.
“We’re protecting ourselves but gearing ourselves up in the event we’re needed to go out,” Ogle said.
State police notified troopers who were off or on vacation to remain at home and be ready to go out on short notice, said spokesman Cpl. Bruce Harris.
Detectives were sent on patrol, he said.
New Castle County police sent a bomb-detection dog to the J. Caleb Boggs Federal Building in Wilmington at the request of the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, county police spokesman Trinidad Navarro said. The dog searched but found no explosives.
The police also sent members of its mounted patrol to New Castle County Airport to help with security, Navarro said.
Security was tighter than usual at the Boggs Federal Building at Ninth and King streets Tuesday.
Federal officers and Wilmington police patrolled the perimeter of the building for several hours after the attacks.
“We’re ratcheting things up a notch,” said Timothy P. Mulaney, U.S. marshal for Delaware.
The marshal’s office is in charge of security at all federal buildings. The federal building houses the U.S. District Court and the offices of several federal agencies that serve Delaware.
Security officers checked every bag by hand, instead of running them through an X-ray machine.
Mulaney said a federal grand jury was canceled and one of the four federal judges who
work in the building sent his staff home early.
Mulaney said the building remained open because there was no direct threat here.
Officials shut down Superior Court and returned prisoners to prisons about 10:45 a.m.
“Everybody is just over whelmed by the tragic event,” said Art Bernardino, Superior Court administrator.
Callers swamped Verizon’s telephone network, causing delays on both landlines and cell phones, said company spokesman Ellsworth Edwards.
“The volume of calls has escalated, quite frankly, to the point that our network is swamped,” Edwards said. “It has strained the limits ever since this thing occurred.”
Many companies closed early.
The DuPont Co., the state’s largest employer with more than 11,000 workers, sent employees home about 1 p.m.
DuPont has an office near the Mall in Washington and all workers there were safe, said Chad Holliday, chairman and chief executive officer.
The Saturn and Daimler-Chrysler assembly plants closed early Tuesday. Workers were scheduled to return today.
MBNA Corp., Wilmington Trust Corp., First USA Bank, WSFS Financial Corp. sent most employees home early.
The Federal Reserve Bank of Philadelphia remained open.
AstraZeneca sent most employees home for the day about noon, a spokeswoman said.
Christiana Mall closed at 1 p.m. Concord Mall had not closed, but several stores had shut down. Officials at Dover Mall could not be reached.
Don Zoladkiewicz, public affairs manager for Sunoco Marcus Hook Refinery, reported that both of Sunoco’s area refineries were taking extra precautions.
Officials at the Motiva refinery in Delaware City could not be reached for comment.
Dover Downs kept its slots parlor open.
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