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WORLD TRADE CENTER DESTROYED, FIRES SPREADING Updated 12:27 EST

Fires are now spreading in lower Manhattan, as a severely crippled New York City Fire Department sends out urgent calls up and down the East Coast for support. At least a dozen people jumped from the upper floors of the World Trade Center before the buildings collapsed. More than two hundred New York City firemen are unaccounted for as of this hour in the World Trade Center catastrophe, and the Fire Department is having serious organizational and communications problems.

It is believed that the fires will be contained in lower Manhattan. New York City fire codes are among the most stringent in the world, and many buildings are sprinkler-equipped and fire resistant.

At 10 AM this morning, the South Tower of the World Trade Center collapsed. Thirty three minutes later, the North Tower collapsed. It is believed that there have been serious casualties among emergency personnel who were inside and near the towers, and an unknown number of trapped civilians.

A large area of lower Manhattan is now choked with smoke, fire and debris, and this greatest of human constructions is gone.

Stuyvesant High School, in the immediate area, was safely evacuated before the collapse.

New York Emergency Services are in chaos due to the fact that dozens of fire and police officers have been injured or killed in the collapse of the building.

This is the most terrible attack on the United States since the Japanese struck Pearl Harbor, and it appears likely that the number of casualties will be much higher.

US intelligence services are saying that they had no warning of these attacks.

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