Reporting Gigi Barnett
BALTIMORE (WJZ) — A high-rise downtown building attacked by terrorists. It’s what emergency workers prepared for in an emergency drill this weekend.
As Gigi Barnett reports, the rehearsal comes as a man from Bangladesh is under arrest, accused of plotting a massive terror strike right here in Baltimore.
A downtown high-rise building can be a death trap for emergency workers.
“If you’ve got that many victims on that floor, I want you to go ahead and set up triage on Floor 14,” a firefighter said.
Now imagine that the incident is a carefully planned terror attack, an explosion at the top of the Legg Mason Building in Harbor East.
Inside, emergency crews face chaos and death.
“Leave your units and report to the fourteenth floor for staging,” said another firefighter.
But this is just a rehearsal involving first responders, a donated building and hundreds of actors.
“If we don’t train, if we don’t practice and build these relationships up, then we’re not going to be successful,” said Jeffrey Segal, the assistant chief of the Baltimore City Fire Department.
This weekend’s drill comes at a time when federal investigators arrested and charged a 21-year-old Bangladeshi man. They believe Quazi Ahsan Nafis plotted for months to attack the high-profile financial buildings in New York and some of his targets were possibly in Baltimore. Agents foiled his plan.
“We can really thank our intelligence officers. Our intelligence officers, our FBI or federal, state and local for really avoiding a really serious attack,” said Rep. Dutch Ruppersberger.
Security experts say local law enforcement officers are doing a better job of sharing information and that’s making the country much safer.
First responders from five Maryland counties worked together to complete this weekend’s drill.
Grants from the Department of Homeland Security and the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) funded the mock attack.