Lieutenant David Lim retired in 2014 after 34 years of service for New York’s Port Authority Police Department. On the morning of September 11, 2001, Lim was the K-9 unit office on duty at the World Trade Center when the two airplanes struck the towers.

Lim was only one of 19 people who survived the collapse of the North Tower, but his dog and partner, Sirius, a golden retriever, died that day (Sirius’ leash and badge are on display at the 9/11 Memorial Museum).

On March 31, 2003, Lim testified before the 9/11 Commission about the morning of the attack. Here’s an excerpt from his testimony:

At about 0830hrs, I was in my office/kennel on the B-1 level #2 WTC. About fifteen minutes later, I felt the building shake. I left Sirius in his kennel and responded to the mezzanine of #1 WTC to assist people coming out of the “A” stairwell. I saw bodies falling onto the Plaza and realized that I was needed on the upper floors. I proceeded up the stairs giving encouragement and calming the fears of the people coming down. Those that were seriously injured I assigned to healthy personnel, directing them to the triage area.

Upon my arrival on the 44th floor, I started evacuating those on the floor towards my stairway. I heard an explosion, a fireball blew out the windows, knocking us to the ground. I knew now that we were under attack and proceeded down the stairway with my people. On the way down, we cleared floors of any remaining employees. On or about the 35th floor, I felt the building shake and thought that my tower was collapsing. I then heard on my police radio that #2 World Trade Center had collapsed and we were ordered to evacuate Tower #1. On the way down, we were losing our lights and c ould feel the building falling apart.

When we arrived on the 5th floor, that’s where I met Josephine Harris (another survivor of the North Tower collapse) and Ladder Co. #6. I stopped to help her and got as far as the 4th floor when the building started to collapse. The sound was akin to an onrushing avalanche with the floors above us pancaking down. When the noise stopped, Josephine, 12 firefighters and myself were the only ones left alive in that stairwell.

After about 5 hours, we managed to find our way out by an opening on the 6th floor. The devastation around us was unimaginable. We somehow had survived in a small “air pocket”.

I grieve for many friends that I lost that day. I grieve for all those that I didn’t know. I also grieve for the best partner I ever had. Thank you.

Lt. David Lim and Sirius