UNDERNEWS

Undernews is the online report of the Progressive Review, edited by Sam Smith, who covered Washington during all or part of one quarter of America's presidencies and edited alternative journals since 1964. The Review, which has been on the web since 1995, is now published from Freeport, Maine. See main page for full contents

September 18, 2009

RECOVERED HISTORY: THE WORLD TRADE CENTER DISASTER REVISITED


NY Times - Hundreds of buildings nationwide with fireproofing similar to that used in the World Trade Center could be far more prone to structural damage during major fires than previously thought, according to preliminary calculations by federal investigators.

The investigators are studying the precise causes of the World Trade Center collapse. Their work includes calculations of how heat moves through steel building components with small gaps or imperfections in fireproofing insulation. Their inquiry, which is still in its early stages, shows that during a fire such flaws can act as sluice gates for heat, allowing it to enter the steel, where it becomes trapped, weakening the structure.

Countless buildings put up since the 1960's have used the same type of lightweight, fluffy, spray-on fireproofing to protect their steel. Photographic evidence of the trade center suggests that this material, which is easily damaged, had gaps and possibly larger missing sections. Experts say similar problems are also found in ordinary high-rises. . .

Officials with the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, which built the trade center, have claimed in the past that no matter how well the steel was protected, the planes probably knocked off much of the fireproofing where they struck. Other experts have disputed that contention, saying that poorly applied and maintained fireproofing could have played a role in the collapses.

Only the cores of the twin towers, which held the elevators and escape stairwells, were built like traditional high-rises, with clusters of relatively heavy steel columns and beams linked together in a cage
like matrix. Beyond that, the 110 floors in each tower contained roughly an acre of open space each, uncluttered by vertical support columns. . .

Spray-on fireproofing replaced the use of heavier materials, like terra-cotta blocks, after World War II, and became extremely common in the 1960's, when the World Trade Center went up. The fireproofing used on the trade center trusses was a mixture of mineral fibers and cement-like materials called binders.

Joseph J. Rebando, Retired Battalion Chief In Letter To Ny Daily News - All new high rise buildings in NYC should be constructed under the 1938 building code, requiring all structural steel to be insulated by several inches of concrete and plaster. All components must be able to withstand fire and heat at elevated temperatures for four hours. This would provide ample time for evacuation and mitigate the total collapse of the structure.

Bill Manning, Fire Engineering Magazine -
Did they throw away the locked doors from the Triangle Shirtwaist Fire? Did they throw away the gas can used at the Happyland Social Club Fire? Did they cast aside the pressure-regulating valves at the Meridian Plaza Fire? Of course not. But essentially, that's what they're doing at the World Trade Center. For more than three months, structural steel from the World Trade Center has been and continues to be cut up and sold for scrap. Crucial evidence that could answer many questions about high-rise building design practices and performance under fire conditions is on the slow boat to China, perhaps never to be seen again in America until you buy your next car. . .

I have combed through our national standard for fire investigation, NFPA 921, but nowhere in it does one find an exemption allowing the destruction of evidence for buildings over 10 stories tall. Hoping beyond hope, I have called experts to ask if the towers were the only high-rise buildings in America of lightweight, center-core construction. No such luck. I made other calls asking if these were the only buildings in America with light-density, sprayed-on fireproofing. Again, no luck - they were two of thousands that fit the description. . .

Fire Engineering has good reason to believe that the "official investigation" blessed by FEMA and run by the American Society of Civil Engineers is a half-baked farce that may already have been commandeered by political forces whose primary interests, to put it mildly, lie far afield of full disclosure. . .

As things now stand and if they continue in such fashion, the investigation into the World Trade Center fire and collapse will amount to paper- and computer-generated hypotheticals. However, respected members of the fire protection engineering community are beginning to raise red flags, and a resonating theory has emerged: The structural damage from the planes and the explosive ignition of jet fuel in themselves were not enough to bring down the towers. Rather, theory has it, the subsequent contents fires attacking the questionably fireproofed lightweight trusses and load-bearing columns directly caused the collapses in an alarmingly short time. . .

The builders and owners of the World Trade Center property, the Port Authority of New York-New Jersey, a governmental agency that operates in an accountability vacuum beyond the reach of local fire and building codes, has denied charges that the buildings' fire protection or construction components were substandard but has refused to cooperate with requests for documentation supporting its contentions . . .

Clearly, there are burning questions that need answers. Based on the incident's magnitude alone, a full-throttle, fully resourced, forensic investigation is imperative. More important, from a moral standpoint, for the safety of present and future generations who live and work in tall buildings-and for firefighters, always first in and last out-the lessons about the buildings' design and behavior in this extraordinary event must be learned and applied in the real world. To treat the September 11 incident any differently would be the height of stupidity and ignorance. The destruction and removal of evidence must stop immediately. The federal government must scrap the current setup and commission a fully resourced blue ribbon panel to conduct a clean and thorough investigation of the fire and collapse, leaving no stones unturned.

Jim Malott is a San Francisco architect who has followed the World Trade Center since it first took shape, chronicling its history in words and photos. Mallot was also an officer aboard U.S.S. Enterprise, where he witnessed more than one fiery jet plane crash.

In the November/December 2001 issue of Designer/Builder, Mallot gives a deeply disturbing interview to Kingsley Hammet who writes:

[][] Prior to the advent of the World Trade Center towers, high-rise buildings shared two vital characteristics. They were supported by a grid of steel columns, generally spaced about thirty feet apart, and each interior column was encased in a tough cladding of concrete to create a fireproof skin designed to withstand a four-hour inferno. (The four-hour fire rating is the code rule for the columns and major beams in any large building.) As designed by architect Minoru Yamasaki, New York's Twin Towers incorporated neither of these traditional features. And as far as Ma
llott is concerned, it was the failure of their substitutes - not the initial crash, not the exploding jet fuel, and not the subsequent fire alone -that lead to their collapse and the enormous loss of life . . .

As Malott watched the tragedy unfold, he surmised that the sequence of events went something like this. when the planes slammed into the exterior of the buildings, the fuselages and engines broke through a number of the outside columns while the wings disintegrated as though being forced through a cheese grater. The bodies of the planes crashed across the unobstructed floors, smashed into the central cores of the buildings, and blew the sheetrock off the supporting columns and from around the stairwells, completely destroying the elevator shaft wails.

Thus, in the first seconds, the four-hour-rated fireproofing was stripped from the steel core structures and with it went all hope that the buildings could survive a fire. "After an hour of this inferno, the now-naked steel columns of the central core at the impact floors were heated to about 1,600 degrees, which is the point at which steel loses almost all of its structural strength. The relatively skimpy floor system, with hung sheetrock, small-diameter steel bar joists, and the thin layer of concrete, offered little barrier to the raging flames despite having been rated as fire-resistant for four hours. Three floors may have collapsed within the impact area, further tearing fireproofing away from the core columns.

Once the first couple of core columns began to buckle, Malott speculates, they threw all of their load not onto a neighboring ring of strong columns protected with fireproofing (which in this design did not exist), but onto the adjacent columns in the exposed core, which were similarly denuded of fireproofing by the initial impact and also were failing under the intense heat. 'The outside of the building did not fail. It did not get hot enough,' Malott says. 'It was the core that failed.'

It's time now to go back and rethink the entire concept of the high-rise structural system, Malott says. Buildings such as the World Trade Center towers cannot be built to minimum code specifications And architects must now truly consider the impact of a fully loaded aircraft or other impact/explosion/fire combination striking another tower. Future high-rise buildings must be designed with a redundant system of interior support columns so no failure of any critical part - be it the core, the skin, or the floor -leads to the catastrophic collapse of the entire building . . .

Ever since the World Trade Center became the global icon of capitalism, most high-rise buildings in America have followed its lead and wrapped their steel columns in some combination of mineral wool and gypsum board rather than concrete, leaving them susceptible to potentially devastating pancake failure not in four hours, for which they are theoretically fire rated, but in less than an hour . . . It's interesting to note that while the enormous bomb that exploded in the parking garage of the World Trade Center in 1993 killed six people, injured almost 1,000, caused a massive fuel fire, and collapsed two garage floors, it did relatively little structural damage to the tower because the basement columns were encased in concrete . . .

A building of this scale, in Malott's opinion, should never have been built in this way. The best proof is what happened to the 102-story Empire State Building when rammed by a B-25 in 1945. The plane, loaded with gasoline, hit between the seventy-eighth and seventy-ninth floors. The resultant fire burned for twenty-four hours and gutted five stories of the building. But the accident did not cause any catastrophic collapse of the structure because the tower had been built around a grid of interior columns and everyone had been clad in concrete."
[][]

Christine Haughney Washington Post June 2002
- Fireproofing failures -- rather the impact of the plane crashes -- probably caused the World Trade Center towers to quickly collapse, architects and engineers told a federal panel. "The insulation is going to turn out to be the root cause," said James G. Quintiere, a professor at University of Maryland's Fire Protection Engineering Department who analyzed the fireproofing in the two towers. Neither tower, he found, had fireproofing thick enough to withstand the fire's blast furnace intensity for two hours, which is considered the minimum needed for those on the upper floors to escape the towers. "A two-hour fire resistance is right on the ragged edge," Quintiere said. The North Tower, which had 1 1/2-inch-thick fireproofing, fell in 104 minutes, and the South Tower, with its 3/4-inch-thick fireproofing, collapsed in 56 minutes . . .

"There needs to be a change in the way buildings are inspected," said Roger G. Morse, an architect who specializes in forensic investigations of building disasters and has studied the World Trade Center. Typically, he said, inspectors examine fireproofing before construction is completed, and the work is often damaged in the final construction. In the case of the World Trade Center, he said, construction workers apparently failed to apply asbestos properly to some beams 30 years ago. He found that asbestos had peeled off the core columns up to the 78th floor. No asbestos was applied above the 78th floor, because federal regulations changed and prohibited its application. Instead, workers on the upper floors applied a non-asbestos fireproofing that was not as fire resistant. With better fireproofing, Morse said, the towers "probably would have held up a little longer." Most experts said the problems are not unique to the World Trade Center, which was regulated by the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey. "It could happen anywhere," Morse said.

"The situation at the Trade Center wasn't the worst that I've seen." Several experts spoke of a national problem in high-rise buildings. "The fire service has seen a consistent weakening in fire safety," said Vincent Dunn, a retired New York City fire chief and fire safety consultant. He ran through a list of several New York City building fires where spray-on fireproofing did little to prevent the structure's destruction. He described climbing through these buildings after fires and found "nothing left up there but bent, warped, twisted steel. There's no spray-on [fireproofing] left."

Heating, Piping, Air-Conditioning Engineering Magazine - Steel loses 30 percent of its strength at 1000 F and 80 percent of its strength at 1400 F. These are temperatures that can be reached within 5 min. on unprotected steel in a standard fire. Steel collapse in a fire is impossible to predict and often occurs instantaneously

Retired Deputy Fire Chief Vincent Dunn - After the 767 jet liner crashed into the world trade center building creating the worst terror attack in history, a fire burned for 56 minutes inside the World Trade Center building number two. The top 20 floors of the building collapsed on the 90 floors below. The entire one hundred and ten-story building collapsed in 8 seconds . . . After a fire burned inside WTC tower number one for 102 minutes, the top 30 floors collapsed on the lower 80 floors. And the entire one hundred and ten stories of this building collapsed in 10 seconds. You can say the reason they collapsed was they were struck with a 185 ton jet airliner and the 24,000 gallons of jet fuel caused a fire of 1500 to 2000 degrees F which weakened the steel and cause the collapse. Or you can take a closer look at the buildings construction of the WTC buildings. And ask yourself why did these structures collapse so fast and so completely. The answer can be found by examining high-rise construction in New York City over the past 50 years In terms of structural system the twin towers departed completely from other high-rise buildings. Conventional skyscrapers since the 19th century have been built with a skeleton of interior supporting columns that supports the structure. Exterior walls of glass steel or synthetic material do not carry any load. The twin towers are radically different in structural design as the exterior wall is used as the load-bearing wall . . .

The most noticeable change in the modern high-rise construction is a trend to using more steel and shaping lightweight steel into tubes, curves, and angles to increase its load bearing capability. The WTC has tubular steel bearing walls, fluted corrugated steel flooring and bent bar steel truss floor supports. To a modern high rise building designer steel framing is economical and concrete is a costly material . . . Architects, designers , and builders all know if you remove concrete from a structure you have a building that weights less. So if you create a lighter building you can use columns, girders and beams of smaller dimensions, or better yet you can use the same size steel framing and build a taller structure . . .

If you reduce the structure's mass you can build cheaper and builder higher. Unfortunately unprotected steel warps, melts, sags and collapses when heated to normal fire temperatures about 1100 to 1200 degrees F. The fire service believes there is a direct relation of fire resistance to mass of structure. The more mass the more fire resistance. The best fire resistive building in America is a concrete structure. The structures that limit and confine fires best, and suffer fewer collapses are reinforced concrete pre WWII buildings such as housing projects and older high rise buildings like the empire state building, The more concrete, the more fire resistance; and the more concrete the less probability of total collapse. The evolution of high-rise construction can be seen, by comparing the Empire State Building to the WTC. My estimate is the ratio of concrete to steel in the Empire State Building is 60/40. The ratio of concrete to steel in the WTC is 40/60. The tallest building in the world, the Petronas Towers, in Kula Lumpur, Malaysia, is more like the concrete to steel ratio of the Empire State Building than concrete to steel ratio of the WTC . . .

A plane that only weighted 10 tons struck the Empire State Building and the high-octane gasoline fire quickly flamed out after 35 minutes. When the firefighters walked up to the 79 floor most of the fire had dissipated. The Empire State Building in my opinion, and most fire chiefs in New York City, is the most fire safe building in America. I believe it would have not collapsed like the WTC towers. I believe the Empire State Building, and for that matter any other skeleton steel building in New York City, would have withstood the impact and fire of the terrorist's jet plane better than the WTC towers. If the jet liners struck any other skeleton steel high rise, the people on the upper floors and where the jet crashed may not have survived; there might have been local floor and exterior wall collapse. However, I believe a skeleton steel frame high rise would not suffer a cascading total pancake collapse of the lower floors in 8 and 10 seconds . . .

Perhaps builders should take a second look at the Empire State Buildings construction. There might be something to learn when they rebuild on ground zero. The empire state building has exterior Indiana limestone exterior wall, 8 inches thick. The floors are also 8 inches thick consisting of one-inch cement over 7 inches of cinder and concrete. All columns, girders and floor beams are solid steel covered with 1 to 2 inches of brick terracotta and concrete. There is virtually no opening in the floors. And there are no air ducts of a HVAC heating cooling and venting system penetrating fire partitions, floor, and ceilings. Each floor has its own HVAC unit. The elevators and utility shafts are masonry enclosed. And for life safety there is a 4-inch brick enclosed so-called "smoke proof stairway". This stairway is designed to allow people to leave a floor without smoke following them and filing up the stairway. This is accomplished because this smoke proof stairway has an intermediate vestibule, which contains a vent shaft. Any smoke that seeps out the occupancy is sucked up a vent shaft . . .

Builders hailed the New York City building code of 1968 as a good performance code. However, some fire chiefs decried it as a law that substituted frills for real construction safety. The asbestos spray on coating of steel trusses used in the WTC towers was considered by Chief of the New York City Fire Department, at the time, John T. O' Hagan to be inferior to concrete encasement of steel . . . The WTC started construction in the 1970s. And the WTC towers built by the Port Authority of New York did not have to comply with the minimum requirements of the new 1968 performance building code.

Architectural Record, Interview With Fire Lieutenant Gregory Gargiso - Our teachings on high-rise structures go like this:

o They are broken down into three major construction groups; lightweight, medium weight and heavyweight and these designations coincide almost directly with groups according to years.

o Almost all the heavyweights were built before 1945, the medium weights from '45 to '68 and the lightweights from '68 to present.

o It's not too far a leap from this to deduce that your heavyweights are your Empire State, your Woolworth Building, your Equitable Insurance Building. 20 to 25 pounds per cubic foot. Limestone faced, heavy steel skeleton encased in concrete or block and tile.

o Your lightweights are 8 to 10 lbs per cubic foot, and include of course the Trade Center, the World Financial Center, the JP Morgan building. The newest high-rises in town, basically.

o The middleweights are a bit more elusive, maybe because this group to me are the least aesthetically pleasing. They are 10 to 20 pounds per cubic foot. The Pan Am Building (or Met Life as it is now), One Bankers Trust Plaza, The UN Building. So guess which one the firefighters like to fight the fires in the most. Well, you guessed it, the heavyweights. Not because we're hopeless romantics in love with the architecture of the early 20th Century.

Why then? Because they perform under stress. You see, we are interested in results. It's all fine and well that a particular partition is supposed last against a fire X amount of hours in a controlled laboratory test, or that a curtain wall is not supposed to allow fire to pass from one floor of a high-rise to the next. But in the organized chaos of firefighting, the knuckle dragging grunt work, the 100 or more variables thrown into the mix, the controlled yelling to orchestrate men into action against the Red Devil, the race against time, the sheer physical logistics, they don't usually do what they were designed to do . . .

Stairwells protected by concrete and steel instead of sheetrock would have resulted in lower casualities at the WTC. Walls were obliterated and doorjambs jammed as the building settled into its death throes, barring escape for many. What if power remained on and the elevators stayed operational? High-rise buildings in New York built between 1945 and 1968 were required to have a "fire tower," a stair in a shaft open at top and separated from the floor space by a vestibule with two doors at each end. This is a tremendous advantage to fleeing occupants psychologically as well as physically . . .

Intl Network For Traditional Building, Architecture & Urbanism
- A series of unrelated design assumptions about structure, fire proofing and escape - some dating from the 1920s - exacerbated the World Trade Centre collapse, it was claimed. Giving evidence on 6 March to the US House of Representatives Committee on Science, Dr Arden L. Bement, Jr, Director of the National Institute of Standards and Technology of the US Department of Commerce, explained some of the issues which NIST would examine if commissioned to undertake a National Building and Fire Safety Investigation. "Current building design practice does not consider fire as a design condition . . . They do not represent real fire hazards in modern buildings. They also do not consider the fire performance of structural connections or of the structural system as a whole, or the multiple performance demands on fire proofing materials", Bement explained. Continuing, he argued that progressive collapse had become a problem in modern structures because of their smaller margin of safety. Many lacked the reserve capacity to accommodate abnormal loads, ironically due to increased efficiency in the use of building materials and refinements in analysis techniques.

New York's fire chief long ago warned against the use of lightweight steel floor trusses and sprayed fire protection (both thought to have been used at the WTC). Many firefighters are said to believe that they are safer fighting fires in traditional early 20th century buildings - which have durable concrete fire protection to steel elements - than in flimsy "semi-combustible" modern tower blocks.

[INTBAU is a British organization under the patronage of the Prince of Wales]

John Seabrook, New Yorker - The second generation of tall buildings, which includes the Metropolitan Life Building (1909), the Woolworth Building (1913), and the Empire State Building (1931), are frame structures, in which a skeleton of welded- or riveted- steel columns and beams, often encased in concrete, runs through the entire building. This type of construction makes for an extremely strong structure, but not such attractive floor space. The interiors are full of heavy, load-bearing columns and walls, and, as you move toward the center of these buildings, the more cryptlike they feel. Charlie Thornton, of the Manhattan-based structural-engineering firm of Thornton-Tomasetti Engineers, a leading designer of the structures of modern high-rises, said to me recently, "A building like the Empire State Building is way over-designed and overbuilt. The building didn't need all that support. Those engineers didn't understand loads the way we understand them-they used slide rules to work them out, whereas we have computers-and so they erred on the side of caution." . . .

As the new high-rises sprouted, some New York City firefighters began to point out that the same innovations that make these buildings more economical to erect and more pleasant to inhabit also make them more vulnerable to fire. In 1976, the New York City Fire Commissioner, John O'Hagan, published a book entitled "High Rise Fire and Life Safety," in which he called attention to the serious fire-safety issues in most high-rise buildings constructed since 1970, referring to such buildings as "semi-combustible." Unlike the earlier generation of skyscrapers, which used concrete and masonry to protect the structural steel, many of the newer buildings employed sheetrock and spray-on fire protection. The spray-on protection generally consisted of either a cement-like material that resembles plaster or a mineral-fiber spray, such as the one used to protect the floor joists in the World Trade Center.

O'Hagan pointed out that, even when these spray-ons are properly mixed and applied to the steel (which must be clean), they are much less dense than concrete and can be easily knocked off. The swaying of the cables in the elevator shafts has been known to dislodge the fire protection from the columns in the cores of these buildings, and the coating used on floor supports is often removed by workers who install the ducts and wiring inside the hollow floor. The questionable performance of the fire protection used in these buildings, combined with the greater expanse of lightweight, unsupported floors, O'Hagan said, created the potential for collapse, of the individual floors and of the entire structure. He also pointed out that the open spaces favored by modern developers allowed fires to spread faster than the compartmentalized spaces of the earlier buildings, and that the synthetic furnishings in modern buildings created more heat and smoke than materials made out of wood and natural fibers.

O'Hagan's book did nothing to stop semi-combustible buildings from going up-a fireman's predictable lament about safety was not what a city in love with its skyscrapers wanted to hear. It was not until September 11th that the architects and builders of tall buildings began to think seriously about whether the modern methods of constructing high-rises needed to be revised. One indication that older high-rise buildings may be more fire-resistant than the newer high-rise buildings is the performance of the twenty-three-story building at 90 West Street-a Cass Gilbert-designed building, finished in 1907 (Gilbert also designed the Woolworth Building), whose structure was protected by concrete and masonry-compared with the performance of 7 World Trade, an all-steel building, from the nineteen-eighties, that had spray-on fire protection. Both buildings were completely gutted by fires on September 11th, but 90 West Street is still standing, and may eventually be restored. 7 World Trade, which had a gas main beneath it, collapsed after burning for seven hours.

Ethical Spectacle, 2002 [From an article by three NYC firefighters] - There are many, many questions to be asked by us about the World Trade Center collapse and its implications on high-rise firefighting across the nation. Some questions are political, many are technical, others are philosophical. Here are a few (in no particular order) to think about:

- Given the typical resources of most fire departments, can we be expected to handle every high-rise fire thrown at us? When was the last time your city manager asked you for a complete list of resources that you need to fight a high-rise fire, including personnel? . . .

- Beware the truss! Frank Brannigan has been admonishing us for years about this topic. It has been reported that the World Trade Center floors were supported by lightweight steel trusses, some in excess of 50 feet long. Need we say more?

- Modern sprayed-on steel "fireproofing" did not perform well at the World Trade Center. Haven't we always been leery about these materials? Why do many firefighters say that they would rather fight a high-rise fire in an old building than in a modern one? . . .

The largest loss of firefighters ever at one incident . . . The second largest loss of life on American soil . . . The first total collapse of a high-rise during a fire in United States history . . . The largest structural collapse in recorded history. Now, with that understanding, you would think we would have the largest fire investigation in world history. You would be wrong. Instead, we have a series of unconnected and uncoordinated superficial inquiries. No comprehensive "Presidential Blue Ribbon Commission." No top-notch National Transportation Safety Board-like response.

Progressive Review, 2002 - Some serious questions raised by engineers and architects about the quality of the World Trade Center's construction. They weren't the only ones surprised to find a plane crash causing so great a catastrophe. In a videotape of Osama bin Laden released by the administration late last year, bin Laden - who has a background in construction - made these remarks:

OBL: (...Inaudible...) We calculated in advance the number of casualties from the enemy who would be killed based on the position of the tower. We calculated that the floors that would be hit would be three or four floors. I was the most optimistic of them all. (...Inaudible...) due to my experience in this field, I was thinking that the fire from the gas in the plane would melt the iron structure of the building and collapse the area where the plane hit and all the floors above it only. This is all that we had hoped for.

NY Times, 2003 - Federal investigators studying the collapse of the twin towers on Sept. 11, 2001, say they now believe that the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey, the government agency that built the towers, never performed the fundamental tests needed to determine how their innovative structures would perform in a fire. The preliminary finding, if it holds up, will undermine decades of public assurances by the Port Authority that the twin towers met or exceeded the requirements of New York City's building code, and therefore would be structurally safe in a large fire.

The codes are based on tests of each building component in furnaces that subject the structures, and the fireproofing insulation that protects them, to the harsh conditions of a major fire. Investigators, speaking at a news conference near ground zero, said their findings about the fire tests were an important development in their examination of one theory for why the buildings collapsed when and how they did: that the huge fires set by burning jet fuel weakened the lightweight floors of the towers, and that the failure of at least several floors in each building set off a chain reaction culminating in the total collapse of the complex.

The investigators have said that it is unclear whether, even if the tests had been done and the buildings been found to have met standards, the lightweight floor structures, called trusses, and the fluffy fireproofing on them could have been expected to withstand the intense fires of Sept. 11. But the absence of the central tests has robbed the investigators of the ability to even say whether the buildings performed as their designers had specified in their original plans and as the city's codes required of other buildings like them.

Yesterday, independent experts as well as relatives of those who died that day said they were dumbstruck or outraged that such prominent buildings - where fires had occurred more than once and that had been the target of a previous terrorist attack in 1993 - could have been first built and then maintained without such a basic test of its safety having been conducted. . .

Marc S. Moller, a lawyer at Kreindler & Kreindler, which has brought a liability lawsuit against the Port Authority in connection with the 9/11 attack, said at least one of his firm's legal theories could be bolstered by the findings: that fireproofing in the towers was defective and so the buildings were not safe. . .

7 Comments:

Anonymous Mairead said...

And then we have the respected physicist who says the official explanation isn't supported by physical law, while the "explanation" of the molten metal flows seen on the outside of the buildings isn't supported by experiment. But the evidence IS consistent with the use of thermite-like agents.

And we have the photos showing that the jet fuel fire was a low-oxygen one (lots of black smoke) and therefore a low-temperature one -ca 600F, not 1600F- totally incapable of releasing the energy needed to compromise the integrity of the massive heat sink represented by the core of the building. "Even today, the media report (and many scientists believe) that the steel melted. It is argued that the jet fuel burns very hot, especially with so much fuel present. This is not true. ... The temperature of the fire at the WTC was not unusual, and it was most definitely not capable of melting steel." (Eager & Musso, JOM

And we have building 7 - no airplane strike at all, and only minor secondary fires, but sudden and complete collapse nevertheless.

And we have the unnatural collapse pattern of all three buildings: straight down, in (comparatively) tiny fragments.

I think what we're seeing here with this new round of "explanations", Sam, is Plan B.

September 18, 2009 4:45 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

"(1) the lack of convincing evidence"
Building 7. NORAD's stand-down. Long-standing CIA ties to al Qaeda. Dancing Israelis. Plans for the invasion of Afghanistan were on the shelf.
"(2) the fact that they were too dumb to pull it off"
'They' as much as announced their plans with the PNAC over a year before the attack.
"(3) there are a lot easier and less risky ways of starting a war."
These people have a flair for the dramatic. Like the PNAC document famously announced, they needed a "new Pearl Harbor" to shock Americans into supporting anything that followed.
Have you been moonlighting for Popular Mechanics, Sam?

September 18, 2009 7:03 AM  
Anonymous m said...

As Mairead notes, WTC7 has no explanation. No other steel structured building is known to have collapsed from a fire. This includes buildings which have burned for three days, and were down to their skeletons. Then, within one day there are three?

The architect for the Twin Towers explicitly said that they were designed to withstand a strike by a Boeing 707. Whether he was right or not I can not say, but such an occurance was not an unlikely scenario. The Empire State building had been hit by a B-25 in 1945. Not just the architect, but also the city architectural approval group knew that this was a possibility. I seem to recall that there was a code requirement for sufficient structural strength to survive a strike, but can not vouch for it.

As Mairead points out, jet fuel may sound highly explosive, but it is basically kerosene. A low energy fuel which produces a maximum flame of about 1800F. Further, almost all the fuel is in the wings which were shorn off at impact. This is what produced the large visual fireballs. Little fuel actually made it into the WTC. The fire was fed by what is normally found in offices -- paper, cloth, plastic and wood contributing to a relatively cool but smoky blaze.

The fires may have burned for almost an hour, but the heating was not evenly distributed during that period of time. Hotter at first, then cooling off rapidly as the relatively low temperature fuel burned off.

If it was in fact a weakness resulting form the strike and fire, then the weakest area would have been localized around the strike zone and its fires. The fall of the upper portions of the building would have been occurred with the top falling over in the direction of the strike location rather than straight down.

I believe that too many can not even begin to fathom the possibility of their government being a part of such an atrocity. So for them, any other explanation, no matter how impossible, is "less impossible" than a US false flag operation against US citizens.

As noted by others, there are an incredible number of problems with the official story. But the above is sufficient to warrant a real investigation, not one which only spent 3% of the dollar cost of the Clinton fellatio inquisition.

September 18, 2009 6:18 PM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

There's good evidence and bad evidence, and a lot of claims in the "maybe" category. The best evidence has nothing to do with the collapse of the towers or even WTC 7 -- it is the extensive foreknowledge of the Bush regime, the specific warnings from US allies about what when and where the attacks would be, the NORAD non-response, the overlapping war games during 9/11 (including a plane into building exercise!), Bush's weird behavior when told, the many coverups afterwards and last, but not least, the disinformation campaign to associate 9/11 truth with an endless array of false, or partly false claims of complicity that can be used to discredit the whole topic.

Like with the Kennedy assassinations, the real issue is now HOW but WHY.


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http://www.oilempire.us/best-evidence.html
a guide to the best evidence

http://www.oilempire.us/911peakoil.html
9/11 and Peak Oil

http://www.oilempire.us/disinfo.html
a field guide to disinformation


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9/11 research is a rabbit-hole of Byzantine complexity full of snares and delusions and peopled with false friends, lunatics, earnest lost souls and a few heroes. It's not necessary to understand all the nuances of science and bureaucracy that allowed the government to get away with mass murder, blame it on swarthy foreigners (of whom many are eager accomplices) and use the incident as (in the words of the Cheney, Jeb Bush et al cabal, the Project for a New American Century) "a new Pearl Harbor." At this critical juncture in human history, it's only necessary to understand why they did it. The motive was Peak Oil, a disaster which will affect everyone on the planet, about which all must enlighten themselves and for which all must prepare.

-- Jenna Orkin, World Trade Center Environmental Organization
http://mikeruppert.blogspot.com/2007/05/epa-whistleblower-alleges-more-fraud.html


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Crossing the Rubicon: Simplifying the case against Dick Cheney
by Michael Kane
www.fromthewilderness.com/free/ww3/011805_simplify_case.shtml

Means - Dick Cheney and the Secret Service: Dick Cheney was running a completely separate chain of Command & Control via the Secret Service, assuring the paralysis of Air Force response on 9/11. The Secret Service has the technology to see the same radar screens the FAA sees in real time. They also have the legal authority and technological capability to take supreme command in cases of national emergency. Dick Cheney was the acting Commander in Chief on 9/11.

Motive - Peak Oil: At some point between 2000 and 2007, world oil production reaches its peak; from that point on, every barrel of oil is going to be harder to find, more expensive to recover, and more valuable to those who recover and control it. Dick Cheney was well aware of the coming Peak Oil crisis at least as early as 1999, and 9/11 provided the pretext for the series of energy wars that Cheney stated, "will not end in our lifetime."

Opportunity - 9/11 War Games: The Air Force was running multiple war games on the morning of 9/11 simulating hijackings over the continental United States that included (at least) one "live-fly" exercise as well as simulations that placed "false blips" on FAA radar screens. These war games eerily mirrored the real events of 9/11 to the point of the Air Force running drills involving hijacked aircraft as the 9/11 plot actually unfolded. The war games & terror drills played a critical role in ensuring no Air Force fighter jocks - who had trained their entire lives for this moment - would be able to prevent the attacks from succeeding. These exercises were under Dick Cheney's management.

September 19, 2009 5:13 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

WTC 7:


WTC 7 was the first time a collapsing skyscraper ever landed on a somewhat smaller structure - one of the towers caused a big gash in WTC 7 and damaged it structurally, which the demolition claims overlook. All three towers were observed bulging and leaning before they fell, which is not controlled demolition. Disproving the demolition theories doesn't get Cheney and Bush off the hook for complicity, especially how at the very least they allowed an attack focused on bringing down the towers to proceed and their administration interfered with FBI agents' efforts to stop it, along with tracking by the "DIA" of the hijackers in the two years before 9/11. It's likely the perpetrators were trying to topple one tower onto the other, the reported goal of the attackers in 1993, but fortunately the towers stayed up long enough for most people below the impacts to escape.




http://www.firehouse.com/terrorist/911/magazine/gz/hayden.html

Firehouse Magazine Reports
WTC: This Is Their Story
From the April 2002 Firehouse Magazine

Deputy Chief Peter Hayden
Division 1 - 33 years

"we were pretty sure that 7 World Trade Center would collapse. Early on, we saw a bulge in the southwest corner between floors 10 and 13, and we had put a transit on that and we were pretty sure she was going to collapse. You actually could see there was a visible bulge, it ran up about three floors. It came down about 5 o'clock in the afternoon, but by about 2 o'clock in the afternoon we realized this thing was going to collapse."


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These discussions of what possibly induced that [collapse of the towers] is a major psychological operations campaign designed to keep the American people from looking at the evidence of guilt.
-- Michael Ruppert, February 14, 2005, interview on KZYX, "The Party’s Over"

September 19, 2009 5:14 AM  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

The Kean-Hamilton 9/11 Omission Distort settled all these questions. Go back to sleep, children.

September 19, 2009 10:45 AM  
Anonymous symptomes said...

when I saw the pictures of the implosion of the building, it looks like the fuel must have leaked right to the core of the building, and from there it was the massive explosion that caused the building to collapse. So it was something completely unforeseen, so far as the design criteria was concerned.

October 8, 2009 6:09 AM  

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