Tuesday, December 11th 2001, 12:00 am
By: News On 6
Tulsa is more than a thousand miles from Ground Zero, but employees at a local company experienced the pain right along with victims' families. Immediately after the attacks, Williams Energy set up toll-free telephone lines to take calls from victims' loved ones.
News on Six reporter Tami Marler checked on Williams' employees on Tuesday's three-month anniversary. Cantor Fitzgerald lost more than 700 employees when terrorists ripped through the World Trade Center Towers. Employees at Williams Energy were on conference calls with Cantor affiliates when the first plane struck. They were up and running within thirty minutes after they made the decision to set up phone lines.
It started with about a dozen employees, and then snowballed into about 400. When all was said and done, they'd answered more than 40,000 calls from people frantic over finding their loved ones. Williams took the calls for a week, until Cantor Fitzgerald was able to do it on their own. Phyllis Kennedy with Williams Energy: "By cutting the cord, so to speak, we felt like we're not there to help them any longer, because we'd been helping people all week long and felt like we were part of New York, which was very unusual for people in the Tulsa area."
Williams officials say they learned so much from this experience, they're developing a system that can be put into place immediately - should there ever be a large-scale tragedy like this one.