Greensboro-based D.H. Griffin Wrecking Co., one of the Southeast's largest demolition experts, has been hired as a consultant for clearing wreckage at the World Trade Center complex.

David Griffin Jr., whose parents started the company more than four decades ago, was overseeing the removal of a 25-story skeletal wall Tuesday afternoon that officials feared could pose danger for workers. Griffin, a Western Guilford graduate, is working with teams of federal, state and local emergency management officials, as one of four companies contracted with the city of New York to oversee debris removal.``It's a lot of pressure, there are a lot of hidden dangers,' Griffin said Tuesday from New York, from where he could see workers sifting through the rubble and large equipment working in the distance. Griffin has been in New York since Sept. 13, two days after terrorist attacks on the World Trade Center that left thousands feared dead and tons of rubble in its wake. He doesn't know when he'll come back home.

``It's probably the hardest job I've ever done, but it's probably the most meaningful, too,' Griffin said.

Griffin's company has demolished about 12,000 buildings, including high-rise buildings and Fulton County stadium, the former home of the Atlanta Braves and Falcons. The company processes construction and demolition waste into usable materials, has a construction division, and is a full service metal recycler.

For the last two weeks, for 16 to 18 hours a day, Griffin has been at ground zero. Griffin's work area includes Tower 2 and the Marriott Vista Hotel - half the total damaged physical structure of the seven-building World Center complex. His job is to figure out how to get rid of the debris without causing more damage. Workers in his quadrant have hauled away more than 2,000 dump trucks carrying 20,000 tons of debris.

``The footprint of these buildings is among the largest in the world. It's like a hole in the heart of the city,' Griffin, 33, said matter-of-factly.

``It's a tough situation. It affects us emotionally and spiritually. I've had to look to God for guidance. It's still a rescue-and-recovery, and every day we go out there, we work like we are going to find someone down there. It helps you do your job.'

Griffin declined to talk about some aspects of his job because he and the others are working closely with the FBI. Griffin said the work might be high-profile for his company, but the contract isn't his biggest financially.

Griffin's mother, Marylene Griffin, said her son called her when he arrived in New York and said, `` 'Mother, you would not believe it.' He said it makes you want to cry.

``I told him to be careful.'

Monday, at Tower 2, Griffin's team used a 500-ton crane to put workers 250-feet into the air to hook cable to the section of building that had to be moved. Tuesday, the work area was shut down so that workers could get the work done.

It's not the ideal way to destroy a building, said Griffin.

``Normally we go in and weaken a structure and have a good understanding of what we have to do,' Griffin said. ``None of us have been in this situation before.'

\ Contact Nancy H. McLaughlin at 373-7049 or nmclaughlin@news-record.com

Get today’s top stories right in your inbox. Sign up for our daily morning newsletter.

Load comments