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Tenants to Move Back into Blasted Area of the Pentagon

By Jim Garamone
American Forces Press Service

WASHINGTON, July 29, 2002 – Less than a year after a hijacked airliner crashed into the Pentagon, the first tenants of the destroyed area will move back in, Defense officials said.

As befitting their tradition, a Marine Corps office will move back into the E-ring office it occupied before Sept. 11, said Rachel Decker, a communications specialist with the Pentagon Renovation Plan. "It's the office they recovered the Marine flag from," she said.

The project is well ahead of schedule, Decker said. Other offices will move back in, although the schedule is not yet set, she said.

In rebuilding the area, Pentagon engineers incorporated many changes recommended by those who were in the area when American Airlines Flight 77 struck the building. One important change was placing lighting along the floor, so people crawling in thick smoke can find the exits. Another is placing walls around stairwells to contain fires and explosions.

Already in the plan was work to install sprinkler systems in the building. The plane struck at the junction of Wedge 1, which had sprinklers in place, and Wedge 2, which didn't. The sprinklers helped firefighters suppress the fire in Wedge 1, whereas fires in Wedge 2 took almost three days to put out.

Decker said work continues on other Pentagon renovation projects. The program has established a Universal Space Lab in a section of Wedge 2 to test new furniture, new ways of placing utilities and new safety measures.

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Click photo for screen-resolution imageA communications specialist works on communications lines in the Pentagon. Photo by Jim Garamone.  
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Click photo for screen-resolution imageWorkers ready communications, electric and air conditioning lines at the Pentagon as the final push continues to get tenants back into the newly restored area of the building. Photo by Jim Garamone.  
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Click photo for screen-resolution imageWorkers ready communications, electric and air conditioning lines at the Pentagon as the final push continues to get tenants back into the newly restored area of the building. Photo by Jim Garamone.  
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Click photo for screen-resolution imageA gutted portion of the Pentagon's Wedge 2 undergoes rebuilding. Photo by Jim Garamone.  
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Click photo for screen-resolution imageNew low-to-the-ground exit signs are part of the safety improvements made in the Pentagon. Photo by Jim Garamone.  
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