When the explosion occurred, I had just stood up from my desk to go to COL Volk's office. The explosion knocked me against the wall, blew out the windows on the E-ring side of 3D450. I watched the flame come in the windows and them go back out, presumably because of the over-pressure. COL Volk yelled, “evacuate" immediately upon impact and several more times. I assisted office individuals. COL Volk checked the emergency exit; the stairway was already in flames. As I reached the center isle, MAJ Hoy came from the opposite direction. He had been pushed back by the concussion, recovered, headed into the most threatened area looking for people, to insure no one was hurt or in need of assistance. We could see flames on both sides of the ring and the room was rapidly filling with smoke from the ceiling down to about head level. Somehow MAJ Brewer grabbed a fire extinguisher (he later said that he thought that we would have to fight our way through the flames. I am glad he had the presence of mind to do that) and when we reached the 4th Corridor, COL Grisoli (with a fire extinguisher) was directing individuals to the "safe" exit. I then saw COL Volk heading to the E into the smoke with other individuals. At about the same time, MAJ Brewer and Mr. Ratcliff were trying to break down the sliding door to the DESOPS security room. Ms Riley had been trapped in the room. They were successful in getting her out.
In later conversations I was able to gather the following information: COL Volk, Ms Lee Gutwald (SACO office) and Mr. Jeff M. Moore (SAIC contract employee in DAMO-SSD) and other(s) unidentified, went to check on the front offices. Ms Gutwald was particularly concerned about her office mates in SACO/JACO. They went out to the E ring and assisted in checking and clearing several offices that were accessible. While on the E ring, a secondary detonation (of the heli-pad fuel tank?) occurred. COL Volk, at that point, called for (ordered) the group to exit back through the 4th corridor, toward the A ring. COL Volk said that he did that because he was unsure of the stability of the floor and the possibility of other explosions. The floor was buckling, they were hit with a blast of extremely hot air and the smoke was intensifying. They had to crawl under the smoke. As you know, that floor subsequently collapsed. Once they got back to a relatively safe area, Ms Gutwald continued to search for her people.
At approximately the same time, I was progressing with the individual I was assisting. Just as we got to the A ring, MAJ Hoy found a chair so the individual could rest. (We would have to stop several more times before exiting the building and again at the Metro stop and in the parking area). We proceeded to a point halfway down Corridor 2 when everyone was stopped, reason unknown but there was an orderly “turn around" at the direction of unknown individuals. I found that along all routes, the evacuation was very orderly, personnel were talking but quietly. There was no panic and at every function several individuals would take up positions to act as guides, individuals manned fire and other doors. I observed that people were assuming responsibility at the risk of there own safety to help others evacuate. Too many type A personalities in the Pentagon.
Out in the parking area MAJ Hoy was coordinating assembling and accounting for the Division. MAJ Grady was acting as runner, relaying information.