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LIVE FROM THE HEADLINES

Interviews With Leon Saxe, Angela Dipersia

Aired August 15, 2003 - 20:09   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: I'm at Times Square here in New York City, a well-lit, very vibrant, very excited Times Square perhaps presumably the most famous square in the world. Millions of people, though, have been inconvenienced. Some of them have experienced some genuine hardship over the past 30 hours or so.
I'm joined by two of them. Angela Dipersia had to rush her grandfather to the hospital. Leon Saxe walked six hours yesterday from Wall Street to his home in Queens. They're joining us now live. Mr. Saxe thanks first of all to you for joining us. Tell us about what happened. Where were you around four o'clock yesterday afternoon?

LEON SAXE, WALKED WALL ST. TO QUEENS: I was in my place of business (unintelligible) and Broadway. Everything went out. We waited about 15 minutes. When we knew it wasn't coming back we all walked down from the 25th floor, so we all walked downstairs 25 floors.

BLITZER: And then you had to start walking to your home in Queens.

SAXE: Then I started walking north heading for the 59th Street bridge. I'm used to it because I did it on 9/11, the same exact thing.

BLITZER: You walked at that time too?

SAXE: I walked home the same way I did yesterday.

BLITZER: You're not exactly a youngster. May I ask how old you are?

SAXE: Seventy-six, going to be 77 in March.

BLITZER: So, how many miles, it took you about six hours to walk home?

SAXE: Yes. The first trip 9/11 was four hours because it was the afternoon. It wasn't as hot. Yesterday was six hours.

BLITZER: How did you feel when you got home?

SAXE: Well, I got -- I was very tired this time. The four hours was easy. This six hours my legs were hurting. I was very, very hot.

BLITZER: So, presumably you got a good night sleep. How do you feel today?

SAXE: Today I feel very good. My legs still ache somewhat but I feel good.

BLITZER: Was there no one who could have driven you home?

SAXE: No.

BLITZER: Was there any traffic at all?

SAXE: There was a lot of traffic, busses. When I walked 59th Street, I went over the bridge, over the bridge to Queens Boulevard -- or (unintelligible) boulevard. There were busses running along (unintelligible) boulevard full and 50 to 100 people at each station waiting to get (unintelligible).

BLITZER: Well, thank God everything turned out OK for you.

SAXE: That's right.

BLITZER: Angela, you had an amazing story yourself. Where were you and who were you with when the power went out?

ANGELA DIPERSIA, TOOK GRANDFATHER TO HOSP.: I was by myself. I was on my way home from work and I realized that without the electricity my grandfather needs oxygen because he has (unintelligible) and he has a trach in his throat, so without the oxygen I had to hook up the (unintelligible) with the emergency and we ran out of that.

So then I took him to the hospital and I drove him myself because he needs to be suctioned every two hours and without the electricity we weren't able to suction him and what was I going to do? I had to get him to the hospital.

BLITZER: So, how did you get him to the hospital?

DIPERSIA: I drove him. I knew at the time that it was very busy and that it would be a while so I took it upon myself that me and my neighbor carried him down the stairs in his wheelchair, put him in the car, and I drove him to the hospital.

BLITZER: How is he doing now?

DIPERSIA: He's OK. He's OK. He's relaxing. He was very tired in the hospital.

BLITZER: Is he still in the hospital now?

DIPERSIA: No, he's home.

BLITZER: He's actually home?

DIPERSIA: Yes. We have electric and he's home.

BLITZER: You saved him obviously. DIPERSIA: Yes, that was very important.

BLITZER: That was a very, very lucky break for you and lucky break for your grandfather.

DIPERSIA: Yes.

BLITZER: I know he's very grateful to you. Thanks very much to both of you for joining us.

DIPERSIA: Thank you.

BLITZER: Very inspiring stories.

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