F. Irby, Director, Federal Facilities Division
Victoria Clarke, Asst. Secretary of Defense for Public Affairs
Maj. Gen. Jim Jackson, Cmdr of the Military District of Washington
James Schwartz, Asst. Chief of the Arlington County Fire Dept.
Rear Adm. Craig Quigley, Dep. Asst. Sec. of Defense for Public Affairs
September 14, 2001
1:00 P.M. EDT
CLARKE: Hi, folks.
This afternoon we'd like to discuss the situation in the Pentagon, and joining
us will be three people:
John F. Irby, I-R-B-Y, who's the director of the Federal Facilities Division.
He's going to discuss the initial damage assessment of the Pentagon. And I just
want to emphasize, as I have been, a lot of these things we're talking about
-- they are preliminary assessments, preliminary numbers, et cetera. He's got
some slides to show you about the damage, floor by floor. And he is responsible
for the overall building management.
Major General Jim Jackson, who's been up here before, commanding general of
the Military District of Washington. You met the other day. He's responsible
for the military support here in the building, the activities like security,
labor, and the DoD liaison with the fire, police, and the other federal agencies
involved in the combined operations center.
And James Schwartz, who is the assistant chief of the Arlington County Fire
And we're going to ask each of them to step up and just make a brief statement,
just give you sort of their status check, and then open it up to questions.
QUESTION: Can I ask just one brief, quick housekeeping question? Y'all have passed
out the announcement that the president has authorized to call up up to 50,000.
QUESTION: And the SecDef is moving to call up up to 35,500 total. Can you tell me when
you expect that first call-up to be, the initial call-up?
CLARKE: If you wait until -- what time, gentlemen?
CLARKE: -- two-thirty, we will brief you.
QUESTION: Well, can you give some idea now when the initial call-up would be, what
CLARKE: It depends on the services' needs. But we're talking, in some instances,
days. But it's up to the individual services, on their needs, in how they call
Sure. Mr. Irby?
IRBY: (To staff.) Can we have the slides?
Staff: (Off mike.)
IRBY: There we go. Okay.
We took a big hit, but two-thirds of the building is operating in a normal manner.
And as we work through with the FBI and Arlington County, as other areas are
turned over to us for damage control and mitigation, we expect to expand that
area to an even greater percentage of the space.
Up there you can see the green is the area of collapse, where the aircraft hit.
The red is the approximate area of the fire, and the blue is the area of water
Ventilation air is another important aspect of normal building operation. We've
changed the air filters. They were obviously very sooty. And our air handlers,
old as they might be, decrepit as they might be, they're still working -- to
1942 standards, perhaps, but they're still working. And what we're able to do
with the control system that we added fairly recently, we're able to optimize
the intake of outside air, which in essence pressurizes the areas that are operated
with fresh air and forces the contaminates back over into the area of damage.
We'll keep watching this. We've sampled the material that our air filters have
collected and found it to be within the acceptable limits.
Domestic water is connected with the firewater through the piping system, and
they're both very critical. The impact of the aircraft and the explosion did
cause us to lose pressure within that system. But again, our mechanics responded
and valved-off the damaged areas so that the fire department could have adequate
water again to fight the fire. As we expand the areas of operation, we'll have
to do some cutting and capping of those lines to make sure that all of the areas,
old and new, have the kind of domestic water and fire protection that codes
Again, as we move from the area where we are now to other areas that will be
made available to us, we'll have to restore function to the fire alarm system,
and that will take a certain amount of assessment that we haven't been able
to make yet. But we'll have to look at those systems and see what kind of damage
Soot cleanup is another important area to our occupants. We have 250 regular
contract cleaners that are here working that, and 100 emergency fire and flood
cleanup specialists that are augmenting that staff.
And as you move around in the building now, especially on the upper floors,
you'll move from an area where it smells kind of sooty and smoky to an area
where it smells like disinfectant. The floors are shiny and what have you. So
that's what we're moving towards.
But, you know, I'd summarize by just saying that the Pentagon is an amazing
building that you develop a warmth and a respect for its capability to respond
to an emergency, and we're finding that it got us through this problem. And
you just learn to love the building like a sailor loves his ship.
QUESTION: How much would you estimate the damage was?
CLARKE: Sir, we're going to let -- (off mike) -- let each one make a statement.
JACKSON: Good afternoon.
First of all, I'd like to just offer up the fact that the support and the working
relationships that have been established between all agencies and all support
organizations continues to impress all of us. This is certainly a team effort
and everybody's responding in absolutely a superb manner.
The military continues to support all the agencies primarily in several functions.
First of all, in providing a command and control cell that dovetails into all
the other command and control structures so that we can understand each other
to make sure that where the support is needed, we can meet that requirement.
We're doing some limited security inside and outside of the Pentagon in addition
to what is normally here. I'm also providing light labor organizations so that
they can do the hefting and toting that has to be done, and that includes debris
from inside the building and some remains. We also have a technical engineer
company here that is working alongside the urban search and rescues. Day to
day, my numbers range anywhere from 500 to 700, depending on what's going on.
Bottom line, soldiers are doing a great job and they're meeting and exceeding
all the requirements that we're placing on them, and they continue to support
everything that we ask them to do, and they're doing a great job.
SCHWARTZ: Good afternoon.
First off, I'd like to echo General Jackson's comments about the level of cooperation
among all the agencies, all the levels of government represented here in the
effort here over the last couple of days. It's been really a remarkable, I guess,
experience for all of us just how well everything has worked and how cooperative
everybody has worked together to get things done.
I'll give you a little bit of an update on what we're doing right now. We continue
to work on our efforts to shore up the building in those areas as identified
on the map that are most heavily damaged. It's extremely crucial that we make
sure that we have a structurally sound area to work in so that we are not putting
the rescuers at further risk and that we aren't losing a portion of the building
in our efforts to remove either live victims or any remaining victims -- or
remains of victims, rather.
I want to emphasize, though, at the same time that we are working aggressively
to shore up the building and ensure structural stability, we are at the same
time working those efforts to search for live victims and try and work with
the Evidence Response Teams of the FBI to collect evidence as a whole part of
the process here involved in both the rescue effort and the crime scene. It's
kind of a unique situation not just because of the kind of incident that it
is, but also because we have, obviously, a large rescue effort underway. But
at some point we want to ensure that the criminal investigation is not impeded
in some way.
We were talking this morning in the command post about the nature of this particular
incident, and we recognized, I guess, finally a few days into this incident
that while I think everybody is somewhat used to plane crashes and have heard
of building collapses, and at the same time experienced or seen or witnessed
at some point building fires, this is truly a unique situation in that we have
all three of those events wrapped into one, and that is complicating a great
deal the efforts that we have here.
I'll give you one more piece in terms of recent events, and that is an update
from the situation regarding the fire that occurred last night. The situation
is -- the fire occurred in that collapsed area. I have continually stated that
from the very beginning the fire situation in this particular incident has been
extremely difficult. It was not a typical fire when we arrived on Tuesday morning,
and it does not -- it has not ever gone into a typical fire situation.
We have heavy fire in an area where there was collapse, and there is an awful
lot of material beneath that collapse that is still quite hot. I'm not surprised
at all by the idea that there is still burning going on underneath there; it's
just that you're not seeing a whole lot of it because it's very deep-seated.
As that burning continues, or as the rubble starts to shift, we get air in there
and then we see a little bit of flame come out, as we did last night.
We continue our fire watch operations; continued them after the fire was extinguished
last night, and continue them today as we go further with this operation, and
we'll continue that as we see necessary for the remainder of the incident.
QUIGLEY: Ladies and gentlemen, if you would then direct your questions to one
or the other of them, depending on the topic --
QUESTION: I have a question for Mr. Irby. How much do you estimate it will cost to
repair the damage?
IRBY: I think it's too soon to know that. We don't have a -- well, as the chief
pointed out, all of the damage hasn't occurred yet. We're still having problems
that we're having to deal with, and certainly there's a lot of testing that
needs to go on before we could give a reliable estimate.
QUESTION: But as a ballpark figure, could it be in the tens of millions of dollars?
Or is it likely to be --
IRBY: Oh, it's much more than that.
QUESTION: Much more than tens of millions?
QUESTION: May I ask a question to the gentleman -- (inaudible) -- there?
QUIGLEY: As I say, I'll do the pointing, I guess.
Ivan, go ahead.
QUESTION: Okay. You may have addressed this, sir, earlier on, but, obviously, tons
of water fighting the fires, have been poured into the building and have gone
down to the lower levels. Any idea as to the amount of flooding and the amount
of water damage that's been caused and what has been damaged?
IRBY: Well, our diagrams, if you could flip back through, show the areas of
water damage. And the blue there represents that water damage. It's -- again,
if you look at, say, from a dollar-and-cents point of view, probably the largest
damage will be carpet damage, because to get to the carpet all of the furniture
will have to be taken up and all of the documents dealt with. So the documents
may be dry, but the carpet under it is going to need to be replaced or sanitized,
and -- again, we haven't gotten into all of the areas yet for developing that
kind of information because we've got other more critical things to deal with
QUESTION: Sir, just a follow-up if I may, I'm talking more about such equipment as
computers. And is there anything sensitive or classified down there -- any danger
to classified documents being destroyed beyond repair?
IRBY: No. The area is under security and -- General Jackson, do you -- I think
you're more competent to answer that.
JACKSON: As we work through the building, and as the fire department clears
certain sections and the FBI clears certain sections, we are working with them
to get our teams in to be able to assess and pick up and get back into contained,
or containers, the security items that we might need. Computers are being addressed.
We have in fact retrieved some. We're working with the fire department to get
some additional ones. And of course documents fit in the same category. But
the site is secure.
QUESTION: I think I'd like to ask the chief who was addressing this. You talked a little
bit about search and rescue and recovery. And if you could talk about that a
bit more in terms of what -- how many people you have on site today for both
fire watch, search and recovery.
And you spoke about searching still for live victims. And in reality, do you
have any sense that that still might be a possibility? What's the status of
all of this?
SCHWARTZ: Well, I'll take your last question first, the part about do we have
a realistic expectation that there are live victims in there. We want to remain
optimistic. The area that we have had the most difficulty gaining thorough access
to is the area of the collapse. And while that was the area in which there was
the heaviest fire involvement, in terms of what we've experienced before in
collapse situations, it provides the greatest opportunity for survivable victims.
So there are a lot of factors here at play. But what I would say is that the
thousands of people involved in this whole thing, in this entire incident, do
remain optimistic. The rescue crews continue to go about their job hoping that
they will find somebody.
Your question about the number of people out there. The USAR teams that are
working, there are two USAR teams -- that is, Urban Search and Rescue teams
-- that are working under the direction of FEMA. Those two teams are 70 persons
each, and there are two teams deployed for each work period. The work periods
are 12 hours long. They begin at 7:00 in the morning and go to 7:00 at night.
So it is a 24-hour-a-day operation.
The additional fire and rescue staff that's out there are approximately another
50 individuals that are engaged in support activities as well as the fire watch
activities that I discussed before.
QUESTION: And can you also update us on how many sets of remains you have brought out
SCHWARTZ: I'm not going to get into numbers right now. I'm sure that at some
point the FBI will be willing to talk about the numbers.
QUESTION: Again for the chief. Some of the members of Congress who visited yesterday
were told that the need to keep the rest of the building operating, with particularly
electricity, has created some problems in the effort that you're making because
there's a lot of electrical sparking, arcing going on in areas that are hot
and with still perhaps fuel around. Could you address how much of a problem,
again, the need to keep this building operating has created for your effort?
SCHWARTZ: Well, let me say this. We've worked very cooperatively with Defense
Department officials, with the Pentagon officials to try and get as much of
this building operable as possible. We've worked -- you know, we have worked,
I would say, since day two to very carefully assess what the damages were and,
probably more importantly, what the effect of opening certain portions of the
building was going to have on our operation. And so after we've -- we have opened
I mean, we did a large portion, I guess, on day two -- my days are sort of running
together here, but -- and then we've opened up a few more pieces incrementally.
To be honest with you, in terms of the issue of electricity, nothing significant
along those lines has been reported to me, as the incident commander. And what
I would have to say is that even if there was some difficulty, the teams that
are working inside are constantly monitoring the risks and hazards associated
with the work, and if we had any kind of significant problem, you know, we would
QUESTION: Chief, at some point are you going to have to get in with heavy equipment
into that collapsed area, to start taking things away? And there's almost always
a complication of if there are any live victims, you know, that becomes a negative
factor. What's the decision factor when you start using heavy equipment to take
that degree of --
SCHWARTZ: Well, we do realize that at some point we're going to have to do something.
In the latest briefing, we were discussing those plans. And we hope to be in
a position to start working on the roof deck that had collapsed -- in other
words, just the one piece that's on top of that whole collapsed area. We hope
to begin working on that tomorrow morning -- no promises, but that's where --
that's our benchmark. That's what we're shooting for. That's our goal.
And we are working right now on using a piece of what I would certainly refer
to as a relatively sophisticated piece of equipment -- there's not a lot of
them around; this one's coming from Baltimore -- that will assist us in being
able to remove that roof deck in a very precise manner. So I would say that
with the technology that the equipment afforded, as well as constant assessment
that will be made by the crews out there, the very experienced USAR rescue teams,
I think, will make the most prudent judgments possible to try and open that
Our plan is, if we get that roof deck off, we believe that we'll open that area
up enough to see more and know where to go next.
QUESTION: Mr. Irby, I realize you're not a forensic expert, but I'm wondering if your
analysis of the impact area of the building can help
be at all helpful in terms of figuring out more about the circumstances of the
collision itself, you know, maybe the speed of the aircraft as it hit, the angle,
whether -- you know, how it hit and so forth.
IRBY: Well, I think that would be a question for others. My area is more towards
the normal operation of the building.
QUESTION: Can you say what was the condition of the black boxes when you found them?
SCHWARTZ: I'm not in a position to say. Again, I'd refer that question to the
FBI. I think they're more -- they're better off answering that question, because
it is such a significant piece of evidence.
QUESTION: Mr. Irby, when the clean-up effort is completed, about how much of the building
will be usable for office workers?
IRBY: Well, I think we'll need some more engineering analysis before we can
make that -- turn the answer into a number. Right now we're at about two-thirds,
and we expect to be expanding that. But the engineers are going to have to work
with us on that and --
QUESTION: They're studying the structural safety of the parts that appear to be intact?
QUESTION: They're studying the structure, the parts that appear to be intact?
IRBY: That's correct. That will take some time to look at the potential settling
and those kinds of things. And it's, again, an area where we're all cooperating
together and we're all working at the priorities of what has to come first.
And reoccupying is going to be the last thing in line, so there are a lot of
other higher priorities.
QUESTION: Mr. Irby, can you quantify what two-thirds of the building means for the
lay audience? I mean, this building is X number of acres -- I forget what X
is -- but just bond it a little bit; 20 acres were taken out, but 200 acres
of the Pentagon are operating, functional.
IRBY: That would be a little hard to do up here.
QUESTION: Miles of corridor, maybe? (Laughter.)
QUESTION: There's 17 miles of corridor. Should we assume that 10, 12 miles are functional?
(Cross talk; laughter.)
QUESTION: Do you want to think about it and get back to us?
IRBY: Yeah. We're -- you could say about 3 million square feet are operational
QUESTION: Out of how many square feet? That's the -- you know, the baseline.
IRBY: Yeah -- the math.
QUESTION: Can I ask, what offices occupied the damaged area? Do you have a feel for
that now, for what --
IRBY: Most of the damaged area was newly occupied space from the Pentagon renovation.
And I think if you look at the casualties it will give you an idea there the
spaces that were hit the hardest; the services that had the most casualties
were occupying those areas. But I have not had an opportunity to look at that
because I've been focusing on what's left, the positive side of it rather than
the negative side of it. And we split up the jobs, and this is my role. Others
can handle that better.
QUESTION: This is for the chief. The initial estimate of the Arlington Fire Department
of the number of victims was somewhere around 800, I believe.
That since went down significantly as the list begins coming out. Are you fairly
confident -- first of all, can you talk a little bit about why -- what led you
to that initial estimate of 800? And are you now confident that it is much lower?
SCHWARTZ: I think we are confident that it's much lower, but obviously I don't
have any specifics at this point. I think the only thing that led to that was
very early on in this incident -- you know, one of the important things for
us is to get sort of a handle on the magnitude of what we're dealing with; where
we have to apply resources -- you know, what kind of resources are going to
be needed to deal effectively with the incident. So, I believe we probably got
some information early on that that would be a reasonable number of people that
would have been occupying that space were it fully occupied, so it was the number
that we were going with.
QUESTION: I'm sorry to belabor, but you said a moment ago that while you can't give
a precise estimate on how much it's going to cost to repair, it's certainly
going to be more than in the tens of millions of dollars. Can you, in a ballpark
way, characterize where you think it's going to end up -- a billion, several
IRBY: Well, I think it'll be less than a billion, but certainly more than a
hundred million by quite a bit.
QUESTION: Mr. Irby, could you tell us what it cost to renovate that wedge of the Pentagon
and what the budgeted amounts are for each of the other wedges?
IRBY: Again, I'm operation and maintenance. Lee Evey would be a better one to
answer that for you. He's the director of the -- or the program manager of the
QUESTION: For Mr. Irby, first, and then Chief. Do you have a sense of how long it will
take to recover the building to what it once was? Is this a one-year effort,
a multi-year effort, a decade-long effort?
IRBY: I think it'll be a multi-year effort. I've been working with Lee Evey
on that, and they're developing those plans now. It'll take more than a year,
but certainly not a decade. Again, a lot of that depends upon congressional
funding. We certainly don't have the funds to deal with this, and it would take
legislation to make that available to us. But I would think -- a couple of years
are some of the numbers that I've seen thrown around.
QUESTION: Can I ask the chief a question please? I don't mean to be churlish, but in
New York they are getting accurate body counts. Can you tell us the reason why
we're not getting them? Because what's ending up happening is that at various
times we're able to go out and talk to different people and we're getting different
estimates, and I think that's concerning to folks. So we would like an official
SCHWARTZ: And I can certainly appreciate the desire to know.
What I have to tell you, though, is that as we operate the incident command
system with this incident, we do it jointly with other agencies, including the
FBI. And their desire at this point is not to release that information, and
I'm going to maintain that relationship and that confidence with them.
QUESTION: In terms of the collapsed area, in green up there, can you give us any rough
measurements as to how big that is? How big is the hole, in other words?
IRBY: I don't have that.
QUESTION: I had counted the windows out there, and it was seven windows wide. Do you
know how long a span that is?
IRBY: Seventy-five to a hundred feet. But, you know, what's collapsed now is
not the final situation. There are areas that are so weakened that they'll have
to be torn down. So that will really grow.
QUESTION: Just along that line, can you estimate how much more those -- the collapsed
area that's in green here, when you take out everything you have to take out
and rebuild this building, is that going to be doubled in terms of what's going
to have to be replaced, or less?
IRBY: Again, that's a question for the engineers to decide. And they couldn't
tell you now because they need to conduct some studies to get that information.
QUESTION: Mr. Irby, in terms of what you said before, that you've developed such respect
for this building by looking at the way that it reacted to this trauma, can
you elaborate on that a little bit? I mean, are there any particular construction
features that, you know, proved to be really ingenious?
IRBY: Well, reinforced concrete is one thing that helped with our structural
stability. We also had some reinforcing added during the renovation that helped
with the stability. If you notice, the windows in the renovated areas did not
pop out the way windows in other areas did. The mechanical and electrical systems
have a redundancy built into them as far as how they are fed, which allows us
the flexibility to operate in two directions, serve them in two directions in
most cases. So that's just allowed us to -- when we can't go one way, we go
QUESTION: Was this -- I mean, I know the building was built during wartime. Was the
potential for aerial bombardment thought of during the construction? And in
the renovation portion, was thought of -- that had been put together after Timothy
McVeigh's bombing, had the possibility of terrorism been taken into account
in that reinforcement you spoke of?
IRBY: I think the reinforcing was put in because of the potential for terrorist
attack. It was to shore up an area of concern where we had a weakness that we
corrected. But as far as envisioning a problem like this, I think I would leave
it to others to speculate on whether or not the designers imagined this.
But as operators, we like to have the flexibility to feed from multiple directions
so that equipment can be taken out of service for repair or replacement, or
what have you. And that works to help you in a situation like this as well,
where things have been damaged. So working in partnership with the Pentagon
Renovation Office, we advocated the same kind of redundancy in the renovated
building that we had in the original building.
QUESTION: Chief, can you tell us anything about how hard it was to get to the black
boxes? I mean, it was our understanding that was in a pretty destroyed part
of the building.
SCHWARTZ: It certainly was in a fairly destroyed area of the building, which
to a large degree accounts for the couple of days it took, I guess, to retrieve
them, because the very methodical way that the USAR teams work through the building,
you know, from the side that you see on all the pictures with the slide tilting
down, that's the side we're working from, working towards the back. You know,
all of their efforts are extremely methodical, keeping safety in mind and, as
I keep emphasizing, ensuring the structural stability. So I think the whole
nature of moving through all of the debris and all of that collapsed area just
is what caused us to take so long. But, you know, I think that just how they've
gone about their job is what led to how long it took.
QUESTION: Have they been able to tell you, when they got to that part, whether or not
there were any, you know, recognizable elements that an aircraft itself had
crashed into the building, or is it all pretty much vaporized? Are there are
any -- is there a tail, is there a wing, is there anything there?
SCHWARTZ: I certainly would not use the term "vaporized," but there's
not a lot of the aircraft that is recognizable at all.
QUESTION: Just to get back to Mr. Irby for a minute. I hate to phrase it this way,
but based on what you said a minute ago, is it fair to say that the building
caught something of a break by the fact that it was hit in one of the renovated
areas as opposed to one of the other wings that has not yet been worked on?
IRBY: Yes, I think it's safe to say that we did survive it better because of
the features that were added as part of the renovation.
If I can express the answer to a question that I didn't give you an answer to
on the square footage that's operable, if we looked at the gross square footage
of the building, it's around 6 million square feet. So the two-thirds would
apply to 4 million square feet, which includes the offices and the corridors
and those kinds of areas.
QUESTION: Is that about as good as it's going to get, two-thirds functional? Or do
you see may incremental --
IRBY: No, no, no. We will expand that as time goes on and as the various groups,
working together, complete their function and turn the building over to us and
we can assure that it is safe and operable. It will take us a little longer
because systems have been damaged and we don't know the extent of that damage,
so we can't tell exactly how long it will take to repair.