Larry Hottot, a Niagara-Wheatfield Senior High School graduate and brother-in-law of Town of Niagara Supervisor Steven C. Richards, was unhurt by the airliner crash into the Pentagon Tuesday despite being at work less than 100 yards from the impact.
Hottot, an accountant in the Secretary of Defense's office, was in his office on the third floor of the B Ring, the second ring from the inside of the Pentagon, when the terrorist-flown plane smashed into the outside of the building.
After the blast shook the building, "Immediately we looked outside and saw stuff falling from the sky, bits of dust. All we said was, 'That's not normal, grab your stuff and get out of here.' "
Hottot called his wife on his office phone to announce, "We've been hit, we're getting out of here." He and hundreds of others then evacuated. "It seemed like forever but in actuality it was three or four minutes. There was no panic, screaming or pushing. It was very orderly," he said.
After calling his wife again on his cell phone, Hottot tried to call his mother in Florida but couldn't get the call to go through. "Then it dawned on me that Steve (Richards) was home," Hottot said. "On the third try it went through."
Richards said, "He called about 11 that morning and you could hardly understand him. He was saying, 'I'm all right, I'm all right.' He was definitely out of breath."
Hottot, who graduated from Niagara-Wheatfield in 1973, enlisted in the Army right out of school and served 21 years, the last five in the Pentagon, before retiring and continuing to work in the Pentagon as a civilian. He lives in Herndon, Va., with his wife Nancy and five children.