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High alert, evacuations, closures nationwide after attacks at Pentagon and World Trade Center

Posted: Tuesday, September 11, 2001

NEW YORK (AP) -- Authorities went on alert from coast to coast Tuesday, halting all air traffic, evacuating high-profile buildings and tightening security at strategic facilities following the attacks on the World Trade Center and the Pentagon.

Evacuations were ordered at the United Nations building in New York and at the Sears Tower in Chicago.

''Usually the building is so full of activity, and now there's no one in the hallways. It's creepy,'' said Cathy Grable, a 31-year-old interior designer who was leaving the Sears Tower.

Security was increased at Fort Detrick in Frederick, Md., home to the Army's main germ warfare defense laboratory.

Spokesman Charles Dasey said police at the gates were stopping cars without identification stickers and might search even those with stickers.

In California, Gov. Gray Davis convened a meeting of the State Emergency Council and requested heightened security in all state buildings.

In Los Angeles, the police went on tactical alert, and mobilized an anti-terrorist division. A tactical alert means officers are held over from the earlier shift to bolster the day shift and police only respond to priority calls.

 

Smoke billows from the Pentagon Tuesday, Sept. 11, 2001 after it took a direct, devasting hit from an aircraft. The nerve center of the nation's military burst into flames and a portion of one side of the five-sided structure collapsed when the plane struck in midmorning.

AP Photo/Mandatory Credit, Will Morris

In Virginia, authorities ordered intensified security at the port complex in Hampton Roads and imposed a lockdown of offices at the Capitol.

Under orders from the Federal Aviation Administration, airports nationwide halted all outbound flights, while keeping their runways open for incoming plans.

''We're like everyone else, in shock,'' said Carol Windham, spokesman at Birmingham International Airport in Alabama.



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