The PHCP industry mourns with many others the death and destruction wreaked upon New York City, Washington, and thousands of U.S. citizens on Sept. 11.

Photo courtesy of Davis & Warshow

Norma Khan
The PHCP industry mourns with many others the death and destruction wreaked upon New York City, Washington, D.C., and thousands of U.S. citizens on Sept. 11. Four commercial airplanes were hijacked and then deliberately crashed, two into the twin towers of New York's World Trade Center, one into the Pentagon, and the fourth into a Pennsylvania field. The death toll in one day more than doubled surpassed that of the bombing of Pearl Harbor.

Among the casualties was Norma Khan, 45, manager of member services for the Plumbing-Heating-Cooling Contractors - National Association. She was a confirmed passenger on the hijacked American Airlines Flight 77, traveling to PHCC's Sept. 12-16 annual convention in Reno, Nev. The flight departed from Dulles International Airport and crashed into the western wall of the Pentagon after hijackers redirected the Los Angeles-bound flight back to Washington.

The United Association of Journeymen and Apprentices of the Plumbing, Pipefitting, Sprinklerfitting Industry of the United States and Canada (UA) reported that four members lost their lives at the World Trade Center Sept. 11. Two additional members were injured. New York Mayor Rudolph Giuliani estimated that more than 6,000 people were missing in the World Trade Center attack.

Milwaukee-based Johnson Controls was one of many companies working on the Pentagon Renovation Project. A Johnson Controls spokesperson said 17 employees were assigned to the project; all have been accounted for. Several are now working on the clean-up effort.

Metropolitan Pipe & Supply shows its repect for the victims of the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks.

The industry responds

Supply House Times contacted several New York-based wholesalers to learn of any impact on their businesses. Here is what they had to say:

Eigen Supply Co.:

"We had quite a loss of business," said Steven Edelson, president. "We're maybe 30 blocks from where it occurred. We could see the fire from our roof. None of our people was involved. The streets have been so congested, we can't get downtown. We just do the best we can. We'll send a man on the subway to deliver if we have to. If a customer needs something, we'll get it to him somehow. Our customers count on us, so we have to be there."

F&M Plumbing Supply of New York:

"One of our vans was involved a couple of blocks away," said Raymond Arroyo, office manager. "As the plane hit, some pieces fell in front of the van. The driver was able to escape. Everyone here is okay. It has affected our business. We normally use a messenger service to deliver to Manhattan. It typically takes one hour for the delivery but now it is taking four to five hours. But we are still making deliveries."

Sidney Samuels:

"We were shut down even though we were open for business," said Jonas Dymond, president. "We are bounded by West Side Highway, which became a major thoroughfare for the emergency and rescue vehicles. Access to our street was closed. We were still able to get into our office, even if it had to be on foot, because we live in the city. Access improved a little in the second week. The loss of business is nothing compared to the city's losses and the human loss and suffering. We witnessed the whole thing. We are only one mile away. We saw the towers fall. We are a family enterprise, in business since 1954.

The business aspect can always be recovered, but what we lost in humankind can never be replaced. There was no damage to our building and no loss of our people.

"Because it is still difficult to get around to make deliveries, we are using sports utility vehicles instead of trucks. Some of the contractors are starting to rebuild temporary facilities for some of the brokerage houses.

"One of our big customers was the company that had the maintenance contract for the World Trade Center."

Metropolitan Pipe & Supply Co., Cambridge, Mass.:

"This is a photo of our handmade flag, located outside of our city counter entrance," said Albert W. Brown, president. "The flag was made and painted by one of our in-house artists and all of our associates have signed it. We have collected donations from all of our people and the company has matched these funds. We have sent them to the September 11th Fund."

Ferguson Enterprises, Newport News, Va.:

"Since our primary concern was Ferguson associates, the first thing we did on Tuesday, Sept. 11, was to contact our in-house travel department to be certain none of our people was involved," said Chip Hornsby, president/CEO. "More than 200 of our people were traveling at that time, but fortunately no one was on any of those four flights. We also determined that no one was working in the World Trade Center. Some of our people were stranded out of town.

"Once we determined the safety of our associates, the true impact of this event set in. This is certainly one of the largest tragedies to affect the United States in our history. My hope is that these events will unite us even stronger in the United States as we determine how to best prevent anything of this nature ever happening again," he said.

"Over the next several days, associates from across the country donated blood and contributed to their local Red Cross chapters. Ferguson branches accumulated shovels, sledge hammers, push brooms, hand cream, hard hats, respirators, cutting torches, welding hoses, safety glasses, spot lights and gasoline cans which were delivered by helicopter to Ground Zero," said Elisabeth McArver, Ferguson spokeswoman.

"Our Cincinnati branch sent two truckloads filled with $40,000 worth of material to help in the effort. Six of our Cincinnati associates volunteered their time to drive the trucks to New Jersey and some of our customers made contributions toward this effort," she said.

Davis & Warshow, Maspeth, N.Y.:

"As I walk out of our main entrance here in Maspeth, my eyes automatically move to the west," said Frank Finkel, president, in a memo to his employees." I flash back to that terrible morning. We watched in absolute horror as the most prominent features of any skyline in this world plunged toward the street. A feeling of total helplessness and searing pain ran through us all.

"During the remaining hours of Sept. 11, 2001, we were glued to the TV, just like the rest of the world. I drove into our yard on Wednesday morning, seeing, smelling and tasting the acrid smoke that somehow had a sickly sweet tone. Tears came all too easily. We were frustrated, wanting to help, but not knowing how.

"One of our associates had seen New Yorkers bringing food and water to the rescuers during the night and suggested that we take the water bottles that we had brought to our customers down to Ground Zero. We loaded our pickup truck and somehow got through the chaos. We did what we could, handing out water to those heroes for hours that day. We were able to make three trips into the hell that had been created, and our morning's feeling of frustration turned into numbness that was soon replaced with rage.

"We have heard our leaders and will respond to their call. We will meet our daily challenges, support those in need, and we will always remember."

The Davis & Warshow Web site at contains photos of Ground Zero in New York. The wholesaler delivered and distributed several thousand bottles of water to the rescuers.

Hughes Supply, Orlando, Fla.:

The following message is posted on the wholesaler's Web site at "Hughes is deeply saddened by the tragedies that have occurred in our great nation, and we join in reaching out to those who have suffered losses. Where possible, the employees of Hughes have been doing whatever they can to assist in the relief efforts." Included among these actions are the following:

  • Participated in Angel Flights for the delivery of blood to needed areas.

  • Contributed financially to disaster relief agencies through the Hughes Supply Foundation.

  • Sponsored numerous bake sales, cookouts and fish-frys at its locations to collect donations for the ongoing relief efforts.