- The Washington Times - Wednesday, September 12, 2001

Rescue crews were still waiting today to begin the tedious task of combing through the charred remains for bodies in the part of the Pentagon that was demolished by a terrorist attack yesterday.
"We've had no indications of survivors," Arlington County Assistant Fire Chief James Schwartz said, adding that his firefighters and rescue workers had seen "no signs of life."
Fire officials were fearful that the still-smoldering building could collapse when workers try to search for an estimated 200 to 800 people missing and feared dead.
Chief Schwartz said the building is very unstable and firefighters were continuing to attack flames that had spread inside the roof of the five-story complex during the night.
Throughout the morning, fire crews continued to douse the flames coming through the roof of the Pentagon. Smoke continued to billow, and high winds whipped the smoke across Interstate 395 and the fields south of the plane-crash site, making it appear that fog had enveloped the Pentagon.
The American Airlines commercial jet, which carried a total of 64 persons, that rammed into the Southwest section of the Pentagon at 9:40 yesterday morning ripped through a section of the complex, creating what looked like an alley.
When the plane filled with jet fuel hit the building, it disintegrated, leaving only a few sections of its structure for investigators to pick up.
The plane tore through three of the five rings of the five-story building, sparking a massive fire and causing the outer ring to cave in on the side where the plane hit. The fire also penetrated left and right along the three rings for the equivalent of two city blocks, Chief Schwartz said.
"Right there in the center, it is highly unlikely" that anyone survived, said Dick Bridges, assistant Arlington County manager, who surveyed the damage up close.
Chief Schwartz and Fairfax County Fire and Rescue Battalion Chief Michael Tamillon said a full-blown search of the collapsed area was still too risky.
"It's a very dangerous building," Chief Tamillon said. "It's just too hazardous in there. There's just too much heat."
Chief Tamillon said it could be as many as eight days before the Urban Search and Rescue teams from Fairfax, Montgomery County, Virginia Beach and Memphis, Tenn., get a chance to comb through the wreckage.
In fact, fire crews went into a defensive position last night, fighting flare-ups atop the roof that lighted the Washington sky.
Fire officials said they took 42 injured persons to the Virginia Hospital Center in Arlington, 15 to the Washington Hospital Center and two to Walter Reed Army Medical Center.
No survivors were found during a preliminary search of the building yesterday, Chief Schwartz said, although sources on the scene said six bodies were recovered.
Throughout all of the searches, rescue crews have used listening devices, dogs sniffing for clues, and thermal imaging to try to find anyone who might be alive. However, Chief Schwartz said yesterday that his crews "had no contact" with any survivors.
At about noon today, more than three dozen plainclothes FBI agents began a grid search, looking for clues to those who may be responsible for the attack.
The agents began their search near a Citgo station directly across from the crash site, walking in formation from left to right and up and down across the lawn in front of the Pentagon.
Chief Schwartz said firefighters and rescue crews, working side by side with FBI agents, also were being careful in their efforts so as not to damage any evidence.


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