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9/11: Global Poll Shows Doubt About al-Qaida Role

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What amazes me, is that there are still some nutcases out there that support the 'jet fuel' conspiracy theory. These nutjobs believe that kerosene can melt steel beams. :)

I think the argument is that HEAT melts, or even weakens the steel beams. Where the heat comes from? That's a different story. I know for a fact that diesel fuel combustion can warp an engine block. We're also pretty sure that there was no heat dissipation in the WTC.

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(mp3228 @ Oct 7 2008, 06:51 PM) post_snapback.gifWhat amazes me, is that there are still some nutcases out there that support the 'jet fuel' conspiracy theory. These nutjobs believe that kerosene can melt steel beams. :hysterical:

I think the argument is that HEAT melts, or even weakens the steel beams. Where the heat comes from? That's a different story. I know for a fact that diesel fuel combustion can warp an engine block. We're also pretty sure that there was no heat dissipation in the WTC.

 

The 9/11 conspiracy folks keep claiming that part of the "Proof" of the 9/11 cover up is that the heat of the jet fuel is insufficient to melt steel. Which is true, except for the small fact that the only people I've ever heard mentioning that the towers collapsed because of "steel melting" are the 9/11 conspiracy folks. They haul out as "proof" of a conspiracy, a claim that nobody ever made.

 

They like to go on about how no modern skyscraper has ever collapsed because of a fire, which "proves" that there had to be some sort of controlled demolition. Except for the fact that none of these buildings had large airplanes smashed into them in addition to the fire. There was a skyscraper in my city that was sufficiently damaged by a fire that it had to be abandoned and eventually demolished. In other words it was so damaged that it was no longer safe for use and it didn't have to deal with a multiple ton aircraft smashing into it at several hundred miles an hour.

 

Somehow these conspiracy guys can't wrap their heads around the idea that when you destroy a third to half of the primary structural members of a building and then subject much of the remaining to heat sufficient to cause the steel to loose half of it's strength, the building is going to collapse. The only thing surprising about the collapse of the twin towers is that they lasted as long as they did.

 

One of my friends insisted I had to watch some of his 9/11 conspiracy videos and the depth of the cluelessness of the people making them is truly awesome. My two favorites were

 

1) The claim on one that the top of one of the twin towers fell faster than the speed of gravity.

 

Unless the US government has developed a grav field generator, I can't even think of any way to accomplish this, short of an enormous rocket engine on top of the building, which would have been kind of obvious don't 'cha think? So either the US government has some tech that violates the laws of physics as we know them or these idiots couldn't even measure things and operate a stopwatch correctly. Your choice.

 

2) The controlled demolition of WTC 7

 

I'd be shocked if even 5% of americans outside of NYC and 9/11 conspiracy folks even know the building existed, much less that it was destroyed on Sept 11. So what's the point of demolishing it? Does anyone actually believe that somehow the US or the world would have been even minutely more outraged and angered because that building was destroyed as well? So what is the point of destroying it? But wait it gets better.

 

Here's a sample description of a controlled demolition from Controlled Demolition's web site.

 

http://www.controlled-demolition.com/defau...=20030226165443

 

500 Wood Street Building

transpix.gif

At 3:50 PM on May 25, 1997, Controlled Demolition Incorporated (CDI) of Phoenix, Maryland, dropped the #500 Wood Street Building and its signature mural of Pittsburgh sports figures in the first phase of the City of Pittsburgh's "Urban Mall" revitalization concept. #500 Wood Street was the tallest building in Pittsburgh when completed in 1902. CDI's implosion of the 344.5 foot tall office building eclipses the world record for the explosives demolition of urban steel buildings which CDI has held since October 1977 for its' demolition of the 28-story, 245-foot tall Biltmore Hotel in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma. CDI worked as a specialty explosives subcontractor to IWSS of Buffalo, New York. IWSS was a subcontractor to Turner Construction Company, the construction manager and general contractor for the new Lazarus Department Store and Parking Garage which is part of a $78.9 million project being built for the City of Pittsburgh.

 

After two (2) months of preparation, CDI's 13 person crew needed seven (7) days to place 1,590 linear shaped charges totaling 595 lb. of explosives on steel columns on 11 levels of the 27-story structure. CDI's implosion of the structure yielded vibration levels of only 0.58 inches per second Peak Particle Velocity as measured at adjacent structures less than 70 feet from the base of the building. Other than a few broken windows, there were no damages to adjacent utilities or properties. Debris was so well fragmented by CDI's implosion design that the IWSS contractor's project manager said he was considering demobilizing the steel shear on a CAT 245B excavator he had originally brought on site to handle the debris. He feels the shear will be "unnecessary" during the fast track, round-the-clock removal of the 37,000 tons of debris over the next four weeks.

 

CDI's 15-second implosion was a widely photographed end to a controversy over the destruction of the sports mural painted on the southwest wall of the structure by the late Judy Penzer, an artist, who perished in the crash of TWA Flight 800. Her images of Mean Joe Greene, Jack Lambert, Roberto Clemente, Mario Lemiuex and Bill Mazeroski melted before the eyes of thousands of spectators who braved a nagging rain which delayed the implosion twenty (20) minutes beyond the shot which was originally scheduled for 3:30 PM.

 

Photos were taken by Robin Rombach, Darrell Sapp, Peter Diana - Pittsburgh Post Gazette

 

So controlled demolitions are a very tricky thing to pull off. You need FULL access to the primary support members of the building. So you have to rip out enough of the walls and interior so you can even get to the structure of the building. Then you have to drill into them to lay the charges. You have to run wires all over the building and another entry on the website describes miles of det cord needed. This takes days, if not weeks of extremely obvious efforts.

 

Yet all this was some how done to a building in the center of manhattan, one that was used by thousands of people daily and nobody noticed...

 

The kicker is that even if you assume that there was some other motivation for destroying the building. Doing so via a controlled demolition requires a level of control over and access to everything in the building, that they would have had to have had sufficent access to get at what ever they wanted.

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This is stupid.

 

Let's remember those who lost their lives and the families who have to deal with the loss of their loved ones forever!

 

I love my country (USA) and there is nowhere else I would rather live!

 

It is stupid that the 9/11 victims and their family members started the Truth movement? And that over %90 of them say it's an Inside Job? Please explain. I'd love to hear this.

 

I know for a fact that diesel fuel combustion can warp an engine block.

 

If that were true, then diesel engines wouldn't run for 800,000+ miles.

 

IF what you say is true, then why do we need demolition companies? :hysterical:

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It is stupid that the 9/11 victims and their family members started the Truth movement? And that over %90 of them say it's an Inside Job? Please explain. I'd love to hear this.

 

For the same reason why people insist there were 37 other people shooting at JFK. People don't like to believe that their world can be destroyed by a lone gunman or 19 guys with box cutters. Their loss "balances" better if there's a massive conspiracy involving thousands of people at all levels of the government and military, cruise missiles, robot airplanes, etc...

 

Though that 90% number sounds like complete BS that you just pulled out of your ass. Care to provide a citation?

 

If that were true, then diesel engines wouldn't run for 800,000+ miles.

 

Drain the oil from your engine, disconnect the radiator and then try running it for just 80 miles and see what happens to it from the heat.

 

IF what you say is true, then why do we need demolition companies?

 

Because we want the buildings brought down with a minimum of damage to the surrounding buildings and properties.

 

But that does raise another good point about WTC 7. The whole point of a controlled demolition IS to minimize or eliminate damage to the surrounding buildings. If you are destroying the twin towers, why would you care if WTC 7 damages anything in the area? It's a lot simpler to just make it collapse, quite possibly onto another building. Presumably the whole point of this conspiracy is to create as much damage as possible, to create as much outrage and anger as possible, for what ever the nefarious purposes the conspiracy desires.

 

So wouldn't a controlled demolition be exactly counter to this purpose?

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For the same reason why people insist there were 37 other people shooting at JFK. People don't like to believe that their world can be destroyed by a lone gunman or 19 guys with box cutters. Their loss "balances" better if there's a massive conspiracy involving thousands of people at all levels of the government and military, cruise missiles, robot airplanes, etc...

 

Though that 90% number sounds like complete BS that you just pulled out of your ass. Care to provide a citation?

 

There are lots of unanswered questions, and it seems that the government is unwilling to answer them. Such as why the steel was shipped to China, and it was not treated as a crime scene? Why is it that whenever someone has a question, that is counter to the government's story, that person is labled a conspiracy theorist? I have questions, and I am going to ask them wether you like it or not.

 

The 911 victims heard bombs going off in the towers before they fell, now a lot of them are sick and dying because the EPA lied about the air quality. Why did the EPA lie?

 

It seems to me, that you can't HANDLE the fact that your loving government would be an accessory to the murder of 3,000 of it's own citizens. The same way that holocaust deniers can't handle the fact that Hitler killed that many Jews.

 

3 people. E. Howard Hunt confessed on his death bed last year. Where have you been? In a box somewhere?

 

Don't give me that boxcutter concpiracy theory {censored}. That is complete BS if I have ever heard it. I wouldn't want to be the fool that pulled a boxcutter on me. The fool would get his neck broken, and his ass stomped into the ground. I've been stabbed, and shot before, it doesn't feel good. Better stabbed than dead.

 

%90+- is a correct number if you look at all the radio polls. Learn to use google. Do the research yourself. I'm not going to do it for you because you are lazy.

 

I don't know of anyone who would want their money stolen do you? Why would anyone support their money stolen by a bank? That doesn't make any logical sense.

 

Drain the oil from your engine, disconnect the radiator and then try running it for just 80 miles and see what happens to it from the heat.

 

80 miles? Try 10 seconds. We aren't talking about friction here. We are talking about kerosene melting steel.... which it cannot. Stay on the subject. I don't fall for distractions because you can't answer a question, or explain the matter at hand.

 

Diesel fuel is not kerosene. I don't know where you get that from. I burn kerosene in my oil lamps. If your nutjob conspiracy theory is correct, then the glass on my lamps would be melted now wouldn't it?

 

Question, Did you finish 10th grade physics?

 

Because we want the buildings brought down with a minimum of damage to the surrounding buildings and properties.

 

But that does raise another good point about WTC 7. The whole point of a controlled demolition IS to minimize or eliminate damage to the surrounding buildings. If you are destroying the twin towers, why would you care if WTC 7 damages anything in the area? It's a lot simpler to just make it collapse, quite possibly onto another building. Presumably the whole point of this conspiracy is to create as much damage as possible, to create as much outrage and anger as possible, for what ever the nefarious purposes the conspiracy desires.

 

So wouldn't a controlled demolition be exactly counter to this purpose?

 

Kerosene can not melt steel. That is a scientific fact. Neither can paper and furniture. Which is what the government is now changing their story to. Why change their story?

 

There were people in WTC7, janitorial staff, and a few others were in there that day. Why blow a building that had people in it?

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There are lots of unanswered questions, and it seems that the government is unwilling to answer them. Such as why the steel was shipped to China, and it was not treated as a crime scene? Why is it that whenever someone has a question, that is counter to the government's story, that person is labled a conspiracy theorist? I have questions, and I am going to ask them wether you like it or not.

 

Millions of tons of wreckage aren't your typical crime scene you can just cordon off. The steel was scrap that's why it was shipped to china. What did you want done with it?

 

People are called conspiracy theorists when they insist that a horribly complicated conspiracy involving thousands of people and utterly improbable schemes, is more plausible than what actually happened.

 

The 911 victims heard bombs going off in the towers before they fell, now a lot of them are sick and dying because the EPA lied about the air quality. Why did the EPA lie?

 

Any cop will tell you that first hand witness reports can be horribly unreliable, especially when they come from shocked traumatized people. Especially when people who know nothing about things like bombs and only have their experiences watching movies and TV shows as a guide.

 

As far as the incompetence of the EPA goes. After the Iraq intelligence debacle, the war in Iraq, Katrina and all the other myriad things the Bush administration has botched, their blatant lies, doublespeak and redefining of words to mean the opposite (newspeak at it's best), is this a trick question?

 

It seems to me, that you can't HANDLE the fact that your loving government would be an accessory to the murder of 3,000 of it's own citizens. The same way that holocaust deniers can't handle the fact that Hitler killed that many Jews.

 

What I can't handle is the idea that a bunch of stumbling, arrogant, ignorant, parochial idiots like the Bush administration, somehow managed to rig buildings for demolition, persuade thousands of people in the military to commit an attrocity against their own country, make robot airliners, <fill in conspiracy theory here> in 9 months and execute the plan without leaving any hard evidence.

 

These people haven't proven themselves competent enough to run a bake sale.

 

"Never attribute to malice, that which can be explained by incompetence."

 

3 people. E. Howard Hunt confessed on his death bed last year. Where have you been? In a box somewhere?

 

Yeah, I'm sorry I only deal with one irrational conspiracy theory at a time. The line about the 37 people was just a joke about all the different people, different conspiracy theories posit, it's not supposed to be an actual figure.

 

Don't give me that boxcutter concpiracy theory {censored}. That is complete BS if I have ever heard it. I wouldn't want to be the fool that pulled a boxcutter on me. The fool would get his neck broken, and his ass stomped into the ground. I've been stabbed, and shot before, it doesn't feel good. Better stabbed than dead.

 

Great I'm sure you make Jack Bauer look like a girly man.

 

But, you're missing the central and brilliant insight that made the 9/11 attacks work. Namely that the response that people had been trained for in the event of a hijacking, was to cooperate and go along with what the hijackers tell you to do. Because in the past hijackers had been primarily after the publicity and what they could extort in exchange for freeing the hostages. That simple insight along with the idea of using the airplanes as weapons (something I blame on Tom Clancy) was what made the attacks work. Occam's Razor tells me that 19 guys, a organization which loves killing Americans, likes suicide attacks and a couple of hundred thousand dollars is much more plausible than your excessively convoluted conspiracy theories where lots of things are apparently done for no reason other than to provide guys like you something to point at and say "That proves there's a conspiracy!".

 

The reason why there haven't been any similar attacks since 9/11, has little or nothing to do with the TSA or any of the other moves the government made. It has to do with the fact that the passengers on flight 93 fought back and that the next time someone tries hijacking a US plane everyone is going to go "HELL NO!" and swarm anyone trying it.

 

%90+- is a correct number if you look at all the radio polls. Learn to use google. Do the research yourself. I'm not going to do it for you because you are lazy.

 

I didn't think you could.

 

I don't know of anyone who would want their money stolen do you? Why would anyone support their money stolen by a bank? That doesn't make any logical sense.

 

Sorry, did I wander into a different discussion here?

 

80 miles? Try 10 seconds. We aren't talking about friction here. We are talking about kerosene melting steel.... which it cannot. Stay on the subject. I don't fall for distractions because you can't answer a question, or explain the matter at hand.

 

Sigh, you really aren't paying attention are you. You said that heat couldn't damage a diesel engine. I gave you an example of how it would. This melting steel buisness is some strawman you're dreaming up.

 

The reason heat was relevant was that it causes steel to loose strength. Loss of strength + massive damage to the structure of a building = Collapse. No bombs necessary.

 

You're right you don't fall for distractions, you are perfectly capable of distracting yourself as the previous paragraph shows.

 

Diesel fuel is not kerosene. I don't know where you get that from. I burn kerosene in my oil lamps. If your nutjob conspiracy theory is correct, then the glass on my lamps would be melted now wouldn't it?

 

Well first off, your lamp is designed to work without any cooling other than that the environment provides. It wouldn't be a very good lamp if it didn't. Also the temperature of the flame is hardly the only consideration. The total energy output of a typical lamp is pretty small. So all the glass has to do is be able to dissipate the heat it receives faster than it receives it. Finally unless you have a really stupidly designed lamp, the glass isn't going to be directly exposed to the flame. So it's mostly receiving energy from convection heating through the air, which isn't terribly efficient.

 

As far as the melting point of glass goes, it depends on the formulation of the glass. Depending on the components used and the manufacturing process, it can potentially tolerate higher levels of heat than most common grades of steel.

 

Question, Did you finish 10th grade physics?

 

Yeah I did. I have a degree in engineering. Which is why I understand things like "logic", "probability" and "feasibility".

 

Kerosene can not melt steel. That is a scientific fact. Neither can paper and furniture. Which is what the government is now changing their story to. Why change their story?

 

I've already explained this point twice. I'll see if your reading comprehension is sufficient to pick up that answer. Since you seem to have missed it the first time.

 

There were people in WTC7, janitorial staff, and a few others were in there that day. Why blow a building that had people in it?

 

Boy you sure like Pizza (American Non-sequitur Society : We may not make sense, but we sure like Pizza!)

 

I have no idea. You apparently, are one of those who think they did. Not me.

 

Can you give me any reason why they would do that? I've asked my 9/11 truther friend and he couldn't give me one. I can't think anything that could justify the additional risk that rigging WTC7 for a controlled demolition would pose.

 

I can't even think of why they would do that instead of just making it fall down.

 

This is one of the central reasons why I can't believe in these conspiracy theories. I can understand the roll that an attack on the Twin Towers would play, if you were looking to create a justification for a war. It's spectacular, it creates great media moments that will be remembered for ever. The problem comes when you come to things like the attack on the pentagon and WTC7 collapsing. Both would introduce considerable complexity and risk of discovery into any conspiracy, for absolutely no gain what so ever. Both however make perfect sense in light of the official story.

 

Try answering those question instead of blithering on about melting steel. Give me a motivation for these things and I might take you seriously.

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I wouldn't say that the U.S government was behind this attack

You do realize that bushes brother was in charge of the security for twin towers, and also the airports where the airplanes took off don't you? Also, president bushs long time arab friend owns a LOT of stock in the same security company and is a member of the board, and the week before they were supposed to sweep the twin towers for bombs and explosives but oops... it was suddenly called off by the same security company. Sorry but all of these coincidences just can't be overlooked. This site was put together by independant news journalist and is a great source for unbiased reporting. One of the founders is a long time well known reporter and author and he even testified for the 9/11 commission.

 

Any cop will tell you that first hand witness reports can be horribly unreliable

Maybe so, but those same explosions were captured on film, and film does not lie ;)

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You do realize that bushes brother was in charge of the security for twin towers, and also the airports where the airplanes took off don't you? Also, president bushs long time arab friend owns a LOT of stock in the same security company and is a member of the board, and the week before they were supposed to sweep the twin towers for bombs and explosives but oops... it was suddenly called off by the same security company. Sorry but all of these coincidences just can't be overlooked. This site was put together by independant news journalist and is a great source for unbiased reporting. One of the founders is a long time well known reporter and author and he even testified for the 9/11 commission.

 

What is the point of bombs if you are going to slam 70-80 ton aircraft, full of jet fuel into the twin towers at a couple of hundred miles an hour? Where do you place them? It is not an easy task to fly an aircraft into a specific point on a building and it's not like you get more than one chance at it. Also how do you make sure they aren't destroyed by the impacts of the planes into the buildings or the fires the jet fuel started? Modern explosives like c4 don't explode if you set them on fire, they just burn. Sometimes military personel burn c4 for warmth.

 

Maybe so, but those same explosions were captured on film, and film does not lie ;)

 

Actually pictures lie all the time. Especially when you don't know anything about what you are looking at.

 

Are you an expert on bombs and investigating bomb blasts? Or have you just been told that that scene X shows a bomb blast. I've seen plenty of video of the tower collapses and while there are puffs of stuff coming out of the buildings, that seems perfectly explainable by the collapse of the buildings. How can you tell the difference?

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What is the point of bombs if you are going to slam 70-80 ton aircraft, full of jet fuel into the twin towers at a couple of hundred miles an hour?

You seem to forget that the twin towers were designed to withstand an aircraft crash like that. Also, there are many other examples of buildings getting hit by aircraft and they also withstood similar crashs. It is also interesting how you are rambling on about how none of these things could have happened, but you haven't been able to disprove anything except with opinion. Sorry but facts trump opinion. Two things are for certain. 9/11 happened, and it didn't happen like the government is trying to spoon feed everyone into believing.

 

It is not an easy task to fly an aircraft into a specific point on a building

Actually it is a lot easier than you make it out to be :)

 

Actually pictures lie all the time.

Sure when they are altered, but these are untouched and from many credible sources. Sorry, try again.

 

Are you an expert on bombs and investigating bomb blasts?

No, but I know people who are and they agree with what I've stated here. There are also bomb experts from around the world who have gone on record to say what I stated above. You know it's easy for someone like you to walk around all closed-minded and discount everything, but that only makes you look like the nut job, not the people who are honestly questioning what happened :P Many of those people who are questioning what happened are the family members themselves. Funny how the bush administration tried to keep them quite. I'll bet you've got a good reason why they did that too. LOL :)

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You seem to forget that the twin towers were designed to withstand an aircraft crash like that. Also, there are many other examples of buildings getting hit by aircraft and they also withstood similar crashs. It is also interesting how you are rambling on about how none of these things could have happened, but you haven't been able to disprove anything except with opinion. Sorry but facts trump opinion. Two things are for certain. 9/11 happened, and it didn't happen like the government is trying to spoon feed everyone into believing.

 

I forgot nothing. The fact is that the twin towers were designed to resist the impact of a 707, not the 767's that hit it. It's also clear that they didn't sufficiently account for the potential fire a collision like that would cause.

 

A 767 masses something on the order of 50% more than what a 707 weighs. It's not clear exactly which model of the 707 it was designed to resist and there are some significant variations in weight, but that just means a 767 could be as much as 80% heavier. They are also significantly larger aircraft with a 26' longer wingspan and a fuselage width about a third greater. They also carry a lot more fuel and it was the combination of the fire and the damage to the building that brought the towers down.

 

No. There have not been "many other examples of buildings getting hit by aircraft", not at least of the size and speed of a 767. In fact, the only other large airplane I am aware of running into a modern skyscraper was the b-25 (a WWII medium bomber) that hit the Empire State Building. A 767 weighs 15 times as much and flies almost 3 times as fast as the b-25 was moving when it hit the Empire State Building.

 

Force = 1/2*Mass*Velocity^2. It makes a big difference.

 

The fact is also that the Empire State Building was built substantially differently from the twin towers. It was built with your classic Steel cube lattice, where the building is essentially constructed out of cubes of steel girders. The Twin Towers had a unique structural design where the primary load bearing structure was the outside columns of the building. A support structure that had 1/2 to a 1/3 of them destroyed upon impact.

 

My ramblings are that much of the actions that the conspiracy is supposed to have taken, don't make any sense given the presumable goals of such a conspiracy. Especially given the additional risks they would entail. Keep It Simple Stupid, is a fundamental guiding principle in any operation you want to succeed.

 

Can you give me a logical reason they would rig WTC 7 for a controlled demolition?

 

What is the logical purpose of rigging the twin towers for demolition? Even if they had survived, they would have needed to been demolished. I suspect that their burn out wrecked shells would have been every bit as vivid a rallying point and probably provided a longer lasting reminder of what happened.

 

Actually it is a lot easier than you make it out to be ;)

 

Not according to any of the flight simulators I've ever played. It's easy to hit something like the twin towers, but extremely difficult to hit a specific point. When you are moving 500+ mph, very small control movements will significantly shift the point of impact.

 

No, but I know people who are and they agree with what I've stated here. There are also bomb experts from around the world who have gone on record to say what I stated above. You know it's easy for someone like you to walk around all closed-minded and discount everything, but that only makes you look like the nut job, not the people who are honestly questioning what happened ;) Many of those people who are questioning what happened are the family members themselves. Funny how the bush administration tried to keep them quite. I'll bet you've got a good reason why they did that too. LOL ;)

 

I've seen an equally large number of experts saying that most of the claims of about 9/11 by the truthers are at best showing a fundamental ignorance of what they're talking about or are at worst complete BS. I've also seen plenty of interviews with people who say what the truther's say they said, was either taken completely out of context or is a total distortion of what they said.

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I'm not a conspiracy theorist or anything, but has anyone heard a reasonable explanation as to why Building 7 collapsed? You know, the one that was NOT hit by any plane.

 

Just curious.

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I'm not a conspiracy theorist or anything, but has anyone heard a reasonable explanation as to why Building 7 collapsed? You know, the one that was NOT hit by any plane.

 

Just curious.

 

http://www.popularmechanics.com/technology...842.html?page=5

<h3 style="font-size: 12pt;">WTC 7 Collapse</h3> Claim: Seven hours after the two towers fell, the 47-story WTC 7 collapsed. According to 911review.org: "The video clearly shows that it was not a collapse subsequent to a fire, but rather a controlled demolition: amongst the Internet investigators, the jury is in on this one."

911-tower-collapse.jpgFire Storm: WTC 7 stands amid the rubble of the recently collapsed Twin Towers. Damaged by falling debris, the building then endures a fire that rages for hours. Experts say this combination, not a demolition-style implosion, led to the roofline "kink" that signals WTC 7's progressive collapse. (Photograph by New York Office of Emergency Management)

FACT: Many conspiracy theorists point to FEMA's preliminary report, which said there was relatively light damage to WTC 7 prior to its collapse. With the benefit of more time and resources, NIST researchers now support the working hypothesis that WTC 7 was far more compromised by falling debris than the FEMA report indicated. "The most important thing we found was that there was, in fact, physical damage to the south face of building 7," NIST's Sunder tells PM. "On about a third of the face to the center and to the bottom — approximately 10 stories — about 25 percent of the depth of the building was scooped out." NIST also discovered previously undocumented damage to WTC 7's upper stories and its southwest corner.

 

NIST investigators believe a combination of intense fire and severe structural damage contributed to the collapse, though assigning the exact proportion requires more research. But NIST's analysis suggests the fall of WTC 7 was an example of "progressive collapse," a process in which the failure of parts of a structure ultimately creates strains that cause the entire building to come down. Videos of the fall of WTC 7 show cracks, or "kinks," in the building's facade just before the two penthouses disappeared into the structure, one after the other. The entire building fell in on itself, with the slumping east side of the structure pulling down the west side in a diagonal collapse.

 

According to NIST, there was one primary reason for the building's failure: In an unusual design, the columns near the visible kinks were carrying exceptionally large loads, roughly 2000 sq. ft. of floor area for each floor. "What our preliminary analysis has shown is that if you take out just one column on one of the lower floors," Sunder notes, "it could cause a vertical progression of collapse so that the entire section comes down."

 

There are two other possible contributing factors still under investigation: First, trusses on the fifth and seventh floors were designed to transfer loads from one set of columns to another. With columns on the south face apparently damaged, high stresses would likely have been communicated to columns on the building's other faces, thereby exceeding their load-bearing capacities.

 

Second, a fifth-floor fire burned for up to 7 hours. "There was no firefighting in WTC 7," Sunder says. Investigators believe the fire was fed by tanks of diesel fuel that many tenants used to run emergency generators. Most tanks throughout the building were fairly small, but a generator on the fifth floor was connected to a large tank in the basement via a pressurized line. Says Sunder: "Our current working hypothesis is that this pressurized line was supplying fuel [to the fire] for a long period of time."

 

WTC 7 might have withstood the physical damage it received, or the fire that burned for hours, but those combined factors — along with the building's unusual construction — were enough to set off the chain-reaction collapse.

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