John McClane first encountered the 33rd floor when he opened the stairwell door to decide which areas he could hide from the terrorists in. He later went to the 33rd floor to rest when the SWAT team arrived. When the terrorists engaged the SWAT team, however, John McClane made an improvised bomb with Heinrich's C4 explosives, throwing them down the elevator shaft. It hit the second floor and caused all of their missiles to explode, killing James and Alexander and protecting the SWAT team.
McClane also engaged in a shootout with terrorist leader Hans Gruber and his three henchmen, Karl, Franco, and Fritz, which resulted in the deaths of Franco, who fell headfirst onto a glass window after McClane shot him through the knees, and Fritz, who was shot to death in the elevator. When Hans noticed that John was barefoot, he ordered Karl to use his Steyr AUG to shoot the glass walls of the offices, which would stop John from escaping. However, John managed to run over the glass shards, which despite tearing up his feet, allowed him to escape the floor and limp to a bathroom where he cleaned up his bloodied feet.