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Standing Strong: How a Wilmot Building Narrowly Evaded the Attack at the Pentagon and Became Pivotal in Recovery Efforts on 9/11

Posted by Wilmot Modular on September 11, 2023
Image of Wilmot's Mobile Office - Pentagon in Background. Source: Briscese, L. TSgt. (2001)

Mobile Office Location. Source: Drake, P. (Date not specified)

Aerial View. Source: Goldberg, A., Papadopoulos, S., & et al. (2007)
The Mobile Office in Front of the Pentagon - Aftermath. Image: ABC News (2017). Smoke billowing from a hole after the hijacked American Airlines Flight 77 crashed.
Image: Alexandria, Virginia, Fire Department (2001). Emergency response teams begin preparing triage areas outside of the Pentagon after the attack.

While modular buildings are commonly perceived as mere functional spaces, they can unexpectedly become anchors in pivotal historical events. One such moment involved a Wilmot Modular Structures' mobile office and its unexpected significance during the tragic events of September 11, 2001.

The Backstory:

In 1996, one of our 12'x60' mobile offices was sold to Singleton Electric. Founded in 1954 by Woodie Singleton, Singleton Electric Company traces its roots back to Washington, D.C., where Woodie, a local of the city, launched the company initially as Harrison Electric Co., Inc. Like many structures we’ve sold, it was intended for practical business use. Little did anyone know that it would soon become an integral part of a narrative much larger than anyone could imagine.

A Close Call:

On the fateful morning of September 11, 2001 the world watched in horror as tragic events unfolded across the U.S. At the Pentagon, where construction work was underway, Singleton Electric's foreman Mickey Bell narrowly escaped the path of one of the hijacked planes, American Airlines Flight #77. "Bell was nearly struck by one of the plane’s wings as it sped by him," shared Singleton spokesperson Mike Ingraham (Harrington, Funk, O’Bryhim, 2001).

The proximity of our trailer sold to Singleton Electric to the crash site was hauntingly illuminated by Jack Singleton's words: "The plane's left wing actually came in near the ground and the right wing was tilted up in the air. That right wing went directly over our trailer, so if that wing had not tilted up, it would have hit the trailer. (Tanner, 2001)"

Beyond the Impact:

Amidst the chaos and tragedy, the Singleton team showcased exemplary courage along with all the first responders that day. By evening, using their trailer as a base of operations, they returned to provide essential services, setting up temporary lighting to assist the recovery and repair operations within the Pentagon.

Standing Strong:

Wilmot Modular Structures takes pride in the quality and durability of our products. But it's the stories, like this one from 9/11, that serve as powerful reminders of the resilience of the human spirit and the remarkable roles our structures can unexpectedly play in history.

The events of September 11th have etched an indelible mark in the collective memory of our nation. At Wilmot Modular Structures, as with so many other businesses and families, the gravity of that day remains palpable. We vow never to forget the immense loss, the selfless heroism, and the overwhelming unity that arose in the aftermath. Each year, as we reflect upon our own connection to those events, we solemnly honor and remember the lives taken too soon. Their memories serve as a reminder of our shared resilience, the fragility of life, and the enduring strength of community. It's more than a date in history; it's a call to cherish, support, and stand together in reverence of all that was lost.


Reference List:

ABC News. (2017). Smoke billowing from a hole after the hijacked American Airlines Flight 77 crashed [Photograph]. ABC News.

Alexandria, Virginia, Fire Department. (2001). Emergency response teams begin preparing triage areas outside of the Pentagon after the attack, Sept. 11, 2001 [Photograph]. ABC News.

Briscese, L. TSgt. (2001). Fire crews work to put out the flames following the collapse of the E Ring, 11 September 2001 [Photograph]. Naval History and Heritage Command.

Drake, P. (n.d.). 'It was chaotic' Helena man recalls when Pentagon was hit on 9/11. The Independent Record.

Goldberg, A., Papadopoulos, S., & et al. (2007). Path of Aircraft into the Pentagon [Graphic]. Naval History and Heritage Command.

Harrington, M., Funk, D., & O’Bryhim, B. (2001, September 20). Electrical Contractors Escape From Pentagon Crash Site After Air Attacks. ECMWeb.

Tanner, V. L. (2001, October). Saving the Pentagon, Part 1: Damage Control - Pentagon Shifts Into Higher Gear. Design·Build Web Magazine.

Topics: Modular Buildings