NEW YORK (CBS 2) — It was a revolving door at the World Trade Center that shielded Ken Summers from the fireball that exploded through the lobby when the first plane hit.
“All the oxygen got sucked out of the door…from the heat. I bent down and when I bent down, I saw the orange glow coming through my fingers,” burn victim Summers said.
Summers’ arms, head and hands were burned. Despite multiple surgeries and skin grafts. His hands still haven’t healed.
“The movement splits it open. I don’t leave it alone because it either itches or it bothers me,” he said.
Many of the burn victims who initially survived the attack ended up dying. For those who survived like Summers, doctors say it’s often a life-long recovery, CBS 2’s Dana Tyler reports.
“Patients will require reconstructive type of surgeries — especially with respect to hand injuries and facial injuries. And these can certainly take place over a period of years,” said Dr. Michael Marano, a burn surgeon at Saint Barnabas Medical Center.
The married father of two may not have survived had it not been for a concerned stranger, Steve Newman, who found Summers on the street in shock.
“He was pretty bloody. The one thing I do remember was the big sheets of skin that were kind of hanging off his arms…I just knew he had to get a hospital,” Newman said.
Amid the chaos, Newman had the foresight to guide Summers to the ferry terminal — they were safely away when the first tower fell.
“Like I told him on the boat, I said he saved my life,” Newman said.
The two men share a special bond and check in on each other once a year on the 9/11 anniversary and count themselves among the lucky ones.