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St. Pete man remembers being inside the World Trade Center on 9/11

Anthony Mauro was in the south tower minutes before the second plane crashed into it.

SAINT PETERSBURG, Fla. — Anthony Mauro considers himself lucky to be alive today. 

"Every day I wake up and just think, I can’t believe I’m here," he said.

On Sept. 11, 2001, Mauro was working on the observation deck in the south tower of the World Trade Center. 

He was with a partner 107 floors above the street when he saw smoke. Little did Mauro know, he was soon going to witness the second plane crash into the tower he was in.

After seeing the smoke, Mauro and his coworkers took an elevator downstairs.

"By the time we got down to the concourse it was really loading up with black smoke," Mauro explained. He heard an announcement that a plane had hit the north tower.

Once Mauro made it outside, he saw flames and smoke coming from the north tower. Within minutes, he witnessed the second plane crash into the south tower. 

"Just about right over our head," Mauro said. "The bottom of the aircraft, I saw the direct hit and the explosion."

Immediately Mauro feared debris was going to hit him. He hid under a construction plank across the street with his coworker.

"We scrambled across the street on the construction planks," he explained. "They were working in the bank across the street."

Mauro described the streets as madness. He says people started to panic and run, practically having heart attacks in the street. 

That's when Mauro said he had to get to a safer area. He figured his best option was going into the subway. 

"I said to my partner, 'Look let’s get in the subway, because at least if stuff is flying around, we won’t get hit,'" Mauro recalled.

Mauro and his partner got on the first train that pulled into the subway station. That train took them out of Manhattan and into Brooklyn.

Mauro physically left New York City on Sept. 11, 2001, but for weeks he mentally experienced the trauma. 

"I always see the plane hit. I’ll always remember that hit," he said. "That explosion."

Mauro said after the terror attack, he lost loved ones. He vividly remembers attending around 20 memorials for loved ones. 

Nearly a month after the attack, Mauro took another job working across the street from the World Trade Center at a nearby hotel. 

That's when he witnessed the aftermath of the attacks. 

"We were watching the fire department bring up body parts," Mauro recalled. He said those unpleasant and depressing sights are something he can never forget. 

Mauro said he's grateful to be alive today. 

"Look at the odds. The planes hit 18 minutes apart and we made it down in 15 minutes," he said.

For the 2,977 people who were killed, Mauro will never forget them. 

"They went to work and they never came home," he said.

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