|The Pentagon Renovations|
Completed on 9/11/2001
A year’s work finally finished. Dan Fraunfelter counted himself lucky when he landed a job working on the first phase of the massive Pentagon renovation project. When the military complex was originally built, it was constructed in five, chevron-shaped wedges. Each chevron, more than 1 million square feet in size, accommodating roughly 5,000 workers, was designed as a stand-alone building with its own separate utility system. The unique design was meant to make the entire complex stronger (if one section of the building was suddenly disabled, the others could function regularly without disruption.)
But it also lent itself particularly well to renovation. Even though the Pentagon is massive—larger than three Empire State Buildings, the face on each of the five sides slightly longer than three football fields— the wedge construction allowed engineers to remake the building one, easy-to-close-off section at a time. Contractors could simply move workers, seal off a wedge, and install new features like reinforced steel columns and two-inch-thick blast-resistant windows. Fraunfelter, a 24-year-old who studies architecture part time at Northern Virginia Community College, had long been fascinated by the Pentagon. When his firm, Amec Construction, won the general contract for Wedge 1, he plunged into the job eagerly, anxious to explore every square inch of the physical structure.
On Sept. 11, the contract officially complete, Fraunfelter was finishing up a few last punch-list items. He arrived on-site at 7 a.m. to prepare for an 8 a.m. tenant meeting. It was a routine job-completion task, a meeting where tenants handed over a list of final fix-it items: touch-up painting, leaking pipes, etc. MSCBC Link
American Airlines Flight 77 struck the portion of the building that had already been renovated. It was the only area of the Pentagon with a sprinkler system, and it had been reconstructed with a web of steel columns and bars to withstand bomb blasts. The steel reinforcement, bolted together to form a continuous structure through all of the Pentagon's five floors, kept that section of the building from collapsing for 30 minutes--enough time for hundreds of people to crawl out to safety.
The area struck by the plane also had blast-resistant windows--2 inches thick and 2,500 pounds each--that stayed intact during the crash and fire. It had fire doors that opened automatically and newly built exits that allowed people to get out.
"This was a terrible tragedy, but I'm here to tell you that if we had not undertaken these efforts in the building, this could have been much, much worse," Evey said. "The fact that they happened to hit an area that we had built so sturdily was a wonderful gift."
The rest of the Pentagon would not have fared as well.
The fire that swept through the building caused the greatest damage in an unrenovated section with no sprinkler system, heavy windows or steel reinforcements. But many of the offices there were empty in anticipation of the renovation.
While perhaps 4,500 people normally would have been working in the hardest-hit areas, because of the renovation work only about 800 were there Tuesday, officials said. [LATimes]
Most of Marine Aviation had just the weekend before been moved to the "Butler building," an extension of the Pentagon and about 200 yards from where the impact occurred, not nearly as close as their previous offices. [mca-marines.org]
Normally 5000 people work in [wedge 2], but by September 11 renovation of this second wedge was underway. Three months earlier most of the 5000 employees who work in wedge 2 were relocated to temporary offices elsewhere.
WMV video download (800kB)
|Another officer found a window that had been blown out, and “we put out the rest of the glass, boosted each other up and crawled through,” Anderson says. Inside, it was pitch black, dense smoke was everywhere, visibility was nil. “We got down on the floor and worked our way toward the fire,” he says. “We got to a door, but couldn’t get it open.” They felt around and found a body.” There was a pulse; it was a large woman who appeared to be in shock.” She couldn’t get up. Her body had apparently been slammed against a wall, and was now wedged into the building. Working together, the men worked to free her and drag her to an exit, to waiting helpers. Anderson later heard that she had lasted eight days and died on Sept. 19.|
|Back in the building again, Anderson said he began “screaming and hollering for people as secondary and third-order explosions started going off. One of them was a fire department car exploding—I think my right eardrum exploded at the same time, and it unequivocally scared the heck out of me.” Knocked to the ground, Anderson was picking himself up, “when I noticed a brilliant flash of orange light shoot past me like a jet. I didn’t know if part of the roof was falling down or what. But whatever it was, it bounced up against the window in front of me like a rubber band. I suddenly realized it was someone on fire—a guy. The whole front of him was on fire, and I realized he was trying to find his way out of the building, and he must have thought that window was a door. The sergeant and I jumped on top of him, and smothered the flames, and grabbed him—his feet and hands, anything we could grab—and pulled him out of the building.|
|Hoping that rescuers would be allowed back into the building once the fire was under control, Anderson found it hard to leave. “The whole time, I was waiting to go back in, to get people out of the building, but that time never came. It was frustrating, because everytime they seemed to be at a point where they were making headway, and it looked like the fire department was in a position to make entry, we’d be notified by someone that another airplane was inbound, there were other hijackers in the air, and they would evacuate us across the highway. The military hates to retreat, but we would have to put the hoses down and wait, sit there and wait, until they said it was all clear and we could get back in position. That happened three or four times—and it was absolutely frustrating.”|
|Alan Wallace usually worked out of the Fort Myer fire station, but on Sept. 11 he was one of three firefighters assigned to the Pentagon’s heliport. Along with crew members Mark Skipper and Dennis Young, Wallace arrived around 7:30 in the morning. After a quick breakfast, the 55-year-old firefighter moved the station’s firetruck out of the firehouse. President Bush had used the heliport the day before: he’d motorcaded to the Pentagon, then flown to Andrews Air Force Base for a trip to Florida. Bush was scheduled to return to the Pentagon helipad later on Tuesday, Wallace says. So Wallace wanted the firetruck out of the station before Secret Service vehicles arrived and blocked its way. He parked it perpendicular to the west wall of the Pentagon. Wallace and Skipper were walking along the right side of the truck (Young was in the station) when the two looked up and saw an airplane. It was about 25 feet off the ground and just 200 yards away—the length of two football fields. They had heard about the WTC disaster and had little doubt what was coming next. “Let’s go,” Wallace yelled. Both men ran.|
|QUOTE (jphudy @ Jun 6 2006, 01:41 AM)|
| When the pentagon was re-built, was it re-built as an extra-fortified section as it was before? Or, was it rebuilt the same as the remainder of the pentagon. Have any of the remaining sections of the pentagon been fortified? |
Or, was it just that one section, for just that brief period of time.
Another thing, has anyone attempted any of the impacts using microsoft flight simulator? IMO, it's supposed to be a pretty realistic metric of the real thing. Can anyone attempt to fly the same type of aircraft into the pentagon using the same tradjectory and have it recorded.
First, can someone actually do this? Second.... we'll, please, just answer me the first one!!
|"Mitchell: And now Secretary Clarke, four days later as the efforts there continue, describe that for us.|
Clarke: Well, as a matter of fact just a little while ago we were talking about, we had a briefing here in the Pentagon briefing room and we announced that we've already signed a contract with the folks who are going to begin to repair the damage that was done and start the repairs." - DoD (09/15/01)
|"Luck — if it can be called that — had it that the terrorists aimed the Boeing 757 at the only part of the Pentagon that already had been renovated in an 11-year, $1.3 billion project meant to bolster it against attack. That significantly limited the damage and loss of life by slowing the plane as it tore through the building and reducing the explosion's reach."|
"The reconstruction is expected to cost over $700 million and take until spring 2003." - USA Today (1/01/02)