At the Pentagon, no electrical workers died after the terrorist-hijacked jumbo jet crashed, but there were some close calls. Crews from Gaithersburg, Md.-based Singleton Electric Co., Inc. were working on the Pentagon Wedge One (one of five wedges) when the fuel-laden airplane smashed into the Pentagon's western wall, between the first and second wedges.
Foreman Mickey Bell had just stepped out of a Singleton trailer when the blast threw him to the ground. Bell was nearly struck by one of the plane's wings as it flew past him, according to Singleton spokesperson Mike Ingraham. That evening foreman Bell, sub-foreman Greg Cobaugh and other Singleton workers returned to the Pentagon to run temporary lighting inside the building, Ingraham said.
Two other electrical contractors, Dynaelectric Co., Washington, D.C., and M.C. Dean, Chantilly, Va., were in the Pentagon at the time of the crash, according to John Hardy, president of Capital Lighting & Supply Inc., Alexandria, Va., a company owned by Sonepar USA, Berwyn, Pa. None of the contractors were hurt, he said.
“Where the plane hit was an area that had just been renovated by Singleton Electric,” Hardy said. “It was really lucky that was the area that got hit because there weren't as many people. Not everyone was moved in yet.”
“Singleton Electric is getting things powered up the best they can in support of the rescue efforts,” Hardy said. Capital Lighting has been supplying temporary stringers, SO cords and various kinds of wire and cable, GFCI receptacles, weatherproof boxes and drop lights.
Since the Sept. 11 attack, Maurice Electrical Supply Co. Inc., Washington, has also been busy supplying Singleton with equipment at the Pentagon.
“We had people on call all weekend after the attack,” said Jack Justilian, chief operations officer for Maurice. “We were moving emergency-lighting equipment and string lights and things that you would normally hang in a work area that's been under construction.”
Hardy described the atmosphere as “eerie” following the crash at the Pentagon.
“I was at the distribution center on Sunday after the attack, and Singleton Electric showed up in an army truck with an armed escort. It tells you the world has changed,” he said.
On Sept. 11 in nearby Rosslyn, Va., Malcolm O'Hagan, president of the National Electrical Manufacturers Association (NEMA), was startled by a loud bang during a meeting in his office. He looked out the window to see a large ball of fire at the Pentagon.
A little while later, NEMA received word that another commercial aircraft was headed in the direction of the Washington, D.C., area and NEMA was asked to evacuate the building.
Justilian, who lives less than a mile from the Pentagon, said his initial reaction to the terrorist attack was to ensure the safety of his employees.
“The only thing we did as soon as we heard about the plane hitting the Pentagon was we called all our trucks in,” he said. “I think that (the tragedy) stopped all work all over. Everyone was glued to the television. I think the whole world stopped.”
The Department of Defense announced on Sept. 15 that a contract was awarded to Hensel Phelps Construction Co., Chantilly, Va., to initiate immediate action to rebuild portions of the Pentagon damaged in the terrorist attack and to continue other renovation activities in the Pentagon. The initial contract is $145 million, but the project has a potential value of up to $758 million total for renovation of the undamaged portions of the Pentagon.
The Hensel Phelps Construction Co. design/build team also includes Shalom Baranes Associates, HDR Architecture, M.C. Dean, Studio Architecture and Southland Industries. M.C. Dean will install datacom, security and life-safety wiring in the Pentagon.
The design/build contracting team was expected to begin design work at the end of September. Overall completion of the entire renovation project is expected in December 2012.