NEW YORK – The bodies of 10 firefighters and three civilians were pulled from the rubble of the World Trade Center as excavation crews opened up the lobby of one of the collapsed towers, a firefighters union spokesman said Wednesday.
"Those lower floors are now 30 feet below ground," said Tom Da Parma of the Uniformed Firefighters Association. He said the building's steel beams collapsed in such a way that pockets were created, and that is where many of the bodies have been found.
None of the 13 bodies, all discovered Tuesday, had been identified Wednesday morning.
Da Parma said the excavation of the disaster site is bringing workers to an area of the lobby where many people were trapped when the twin towers collapsed on Sept. 11.
"A lot of firefighters just would not leave that area while people were still trying to get out," he said.
Da Parma estimated that the bodies of 130 of the 343 firefighters missing in the terrorist attack had been identified.
The discovery comes amid reports that the Fire Department is prohibiting firefighters from leaving their companies to go to the site and carry away their fallen comrades. The ban seeks to maintain order at the site, as well as provide protection in communities around the city.
Da Parma said the union is talking with department officials about the policy. Fire Department spokesman Francis X. Gribbon did not immediately return a call seeking comment.
At the disaster site, two large demolition cranes are scheduled to be dismantled this week, the Daily News reported Wednesday. Six smaller cranes and cherry pickers are expected to remain.
More than half of the 1.2 million tons of debris has been cleared.