THE devastating aftermath of the Didcot Power Station collapse has been likened to that when the Twin Towers fell in 2001.
Mark Ames of the Fire Brigade Union spent 10 hours with officers carrying out the rescue mission to find three missing workers from Tuesday's tragedy.
The secretary for the Oxfordshire branch said yesterday: "I stood there watching the sun coming up, looked over at it and thought about what our colleagues in New York faced.
"It just brought home about how devastating that must have been – this is our own small version.
"We were all working with that single focus, we need to rescue these people that are trapped.
"If, unfortunately, they are not found alive, we need to do everything in our power to recover those people so they are with their families for one last time.
"We have not had anything like this in our country."
This comes as the senior project director of the demolition revealed Coleman and Company had never done this kind of job before.
In a corporate video posted on YouTube, Kieran Conaty, said: "The client was made aware that this was our first power station – we’d never done anything like this.
"But we’re that type of a company that we learn to adapt.”
Mr Conaty said the company had brought in an expert with 30 years of experience in both building and demolishing power stations.
Today, officers dealt with sub-zero temperatures as the rescue operation continued for a second night, after half of the boiler room collapsed on Tuesday afternoon.
Crews from Oxfordshire, Buckinghamshire, West Midlands and the urban search and rescue team from Hampshire have been at the scene for more than 36 hours.
He said: "They would have been faced with a scene of total devastation with people on site not knowing what to do, they would have been in a state of panic.
"Our first crew performed the rescue. I know they rescued one person who was injured.
"Half of the building had fallen down and the other half is incredibly delicate.
"It is like a big Jenga – you take one piece away and the whole thing comes down."
Mr Ames said the rescue teams started to use sniffer dogs to reach places their human counterparts could not.
He added: "We were using drones and a team came in from Gatwick Airport to survey the top of the debris.
"We were using thermal imagery to look for areas still warm.
"We still have two dogs down there because we are systematically going through a plan."
Eight-year-old Kirby from Essex County fire and rescue service was just one of the dogs navigating through rubble, which in some places reached 10 metres.
Graham Currie, who has worked with Kirby since 2012, said: "We were called at around 11pm on Tuesday to go and join the search teams at Didcot.
"We were one of four dog teams who carried out searches of the site overnight as the rescue effort continues.
"The scene there is one of total devastation, I have never seen anything like it before.
"The dogs carried out a search of the rubble looking for signs of life.
"None of us found anything but I know the rescue effort is on-going."
A spokesman for nPower – which owns the Didcot A and B power stations – said: "We are extremely saddened to hear the latest update from the emergency services. All our thoughts remain with everyone involved."