The problem with this early-ish NY Times report is that the only fires,
contrary to the NY Times report, were, as of 3 pm, small ones on the
7th and 12th floors and seemingly containable. The much-awaited
FEMA report, which came later, expressly concluded: "The specifics of
the fires in WTC 7 and how they caused the building to collapse remain
unknown at this time."
The report also says -- contravening the earlier Times article -- that the
fuel tanks were intact and not compromised.
You can read the report for yourself at
In a September 2002 PBS documentary called "America Rebuilds," the
owner of the World Trade Center complex, Larry Silverstein, who had
bought the entire complex a short time before the attacks, stated in
reference to WTC 7:
"I remember getting a call from the, er, fire department commander,
telling me that they were not sure they were gonna be able to contain
the fire, and I said, "Weve had such terrible loss of life, maybe the
smartest thing to do is pull it. And they made that decision to pull and
we watched the building collapse."
If, as Silverstein said, he decided to "pull" the building, how did they
manage to rig explosives in a matter of hours that would successfully
and safely take down a 47-story building amidst the chaos of 9-11,
endagering rescue workers and equipment? Could explosives be
bought (and from whom? Where is the paper trail, the order receipts,
etc.?), brought to the location and carefully put into place within a
couple of hours on the afternoon of September 11, 2001, and the
47-story building safely "pulled" at that time? If not, then the explosives
would have had to have been in place for such an eventuality prior to
And, if explosives had been placed in that building beforehand, might
they have also been placed at a prior time in the Towers as well?
Silverstein Properties' estimated investment in WTC 7 alone was $386
million. In February of 2002, Silverstein Properties won $861 million
from Industrial Risk Insurers to rebuild on the site of WTC 7. This one
building's collapse resulted in a profit for the owner of about $500
From: Louis Proyect [log in to unmask]
Date: Thu, 27 Jan 2005 14:59:22 -0500
To: [log in to unmask]
Subject: Re: some conspiracy theories
>There was something fishy about a third WTC building collapsing
>as the twin towers had done, but without being hit by a jet plane or
NY Times, March 2, 2002, Saturday
A NATION CHALLENGED: GROUND ZERO; Burning Diesel Is Cited in
Fall Of 3rd Tower
By JAMES GLANZ and ERIC LIPTON
Massive structural beams that functioned as a sort of bridge to hold up
47-story skyscraper known as 7 World Trade Center were
compromised in a
disastrous blaze fed by diesel fuel, leading to the building's collapse
Sept. 11, investigators have concluded in a preliminary report.
The tower was set on fire by debris from the twin towers and burned for
about seven hours before collapsing in the late afternoon under
unexplained circumstances. The analysis of its collapse is one of the
detailed findings by a team of engineers organized by the Federal
Management Agency and the American Society of Civil Engineers to
the fate of all the buildings around the site.
As much as 42,000 gallons of diesel fuel was stored near ground level
the tower and ran in pipes up to smaller tanks and emergency
Mayor Rudolph W. Giuliani's command center, the Secret Service's
Investigators have determined that the burning fuel apparently
what is known as a transfer truss. The trusses, a series of steel
that allowed the skyscraper to be built atop multistory electricity
transformers, were critical to the structural integrity of the building and
ran near the smaller diesel tanks.
A failure of the same type of structural bridge contributed to the
of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City when it was
bombed in 1995. Federal guidelines for public buildings, created in
warned of the dangers of such trusses in terrorist attacks.
''It's certainly right in the vicinity where the columns go into this
transfer system,'' said a person knowledgeable about the investigators'
draft report on the World Trade Center. ''The rest of the building is built
on top of the bridge.''
While 7 World Trade Center, which stood across Vesey Street just to
north of the twin towers, was not formally a federal building, it did
crucial government offices that included the city's nerve center for
The investigators said that their conclusions, combined with other
about the failure and collapse of 5 World Trade Center, could prompt
serious changes in the codes used in building construction.
The findings are in a draft report that has already been circulated
government agencies, and are based on videos made on Sept. 11,
reports, interviews with firefighters, evidence from the debris pile and
structural analysis. Team members, who described many of the
cautioned that the conclusions on the collapse of 7 World Trade Center
could still be modified as reviews proceed.
But Irwin Cantor, one of the building's original structural engineers,
is now a consulting engineer and member of the City Planning
said the diesel-related failure of transfer trusses was a reasonable
explanation for the collapse.
He said he believed that diesel tanks were not envisioned in the
design of the building. ''It ended up with tenants who had diesels,'' Mr.
Cantor said. ''I know none of that was planned at the beginning.''
According to floor plans submitted to the Port Authority of New York and
New Jersey, which owns the land on which 7 World Trade sat, the
complied with city fire codes, said Frank Lombardi, the authority's chief
engineer. Those codes permit no more than one fuel tank with a
275 gallons or less on above-ground floors, he said.
Jerome M. Hauer, who was the director of Mayor Giuliani's Office of
Emergency Management at the time the command center was opened
at 7 World
Trade, said several teams of engineers reviewed plans to open the
there. But no one ever mentioned any hazard associated with placing
tanks above ground, near a transfer truss, he said.
''There were a host of people who looked at this,'' said Mr. Hauer, who
now a managing director of the crisis and consequence group at Kroll
Worldwide, a security consulting company based in New York. ''We
Fire officials did at one point question the storage of large amounts of
fuel well above the ground level, saying that one large tank for the
mayor's command center, if ever compromised, might fuel a fire that
threaten the building.
The Sept. 11 draft report also has photographs and a description of
collected from a previously undisclosed, multistory collapse within 5
Trade Center, a nine-story office building that also burned on Sept. 11
largely remained standing. The team has found that one specific type
bolted connection, called a column tree connection, that joined
floor-support beams, failed in the heat of the fires, causing the
four-story collapse in the part of 5 World Trade at the corner of Vesey
Although no one died as a result of the collapses in 5 and 7 World
Centers, since both stood long enough to be evacuated, the team's
are likely to lead to recommended changes in the way public and
buildings are constructed, much the way similar studies did after the
Northridge earthquake near Los Angeles in 1994 and the Oklahoma
The team is still deliberating on how tightly it can pin down the precise
train of events that led to the collapse of the twin towers themselves.
until now, the collapse of 7 World Trade has stood as one of the
outstanding mysteries of the Sept. 11 attack, since before then, no
steel-reinforced high-rise in the United States had ever collapsed in a
High-rise buildings are designed to be able to survive a fire, even if the
fire has to burn itself out. The strategy is to ensure that the steel
support structures are strong enough or protected well enough from
that they do not give way in the time it takes for everything inside an
office building, like furniture, to burn.
In major high-rise fires elsewhere in the country, such as the 1
Plaza fire in Philadelphia in 1991 and the First Interstate Bank fire in
Los Angeles in 1988, this approach has worked. The 1 Meridian fire
for 19 hours, leaping from floor to floor and burning out as combustible
materials were used up. But the fires at 7 World Trade Center raged
on lower floors and never burned out, and in the chaos of Sept. 11, the
Fire Department eventually decided to stop fighting the blazes.
''What the hell would burn so fiercely for seven hours that the Fire
Department would be afraid to fight it?'' said one member of the
According to the Port Authority floor plans, 275-gallon diesel tanks sat
the fifth, seventh and eighth floors and were fed through pipes from the
larger tanks near ground level. The team member said that while the
fuel remains the most likely candidate for feeding the fires, it was still
unknown whether there could have been other sources of fuel in the
building, kept there by tenants like the Secret Service that have
little of what their spaces contained.
The huge steel transfer trusses ran mostly through the fifth, sixth and
seventh floors where the fires burned. The purpose of the trusses,
included zigzagging and horizontal members and were concentrated
building's core, was to allow 7 World Trade to be built over two
Consolidated Edison substations that already existed on that spot
building went up in the late 1980's. Together the stations held 10
transformers, each about 35 feet high and 40 feet wide.
Using the trusses to avoid having vertical structural columns pierce the
transformers, the building was constructed around them like a hen
on a giant egg.
''We had to do design tricks to accommodate the existing Con Ed
said Mr. Cantor, the structural engineer. ''This building had an awful lot
Transfer trusses are a well-tested technique and are used in countless
high-rise buildings, as well as in bridges around the world. Engineers
that transfer trusses, for most buildings, present no extraordinary
But if there is an explosion, earthquake or long-burning fire, they can
present a problem.
In Oklahoma City, during the 1995 bombing of the Federal Building, a
transfer girder on the building's third floor gave way, helping to
precipitate a progressive collapse that later analysis showed was
responsible for most of the 168 deaths. After this attack, federal
guidelines for buildings that would hold government agencies were
recommending that buildings be designed so that single-point failures
not cause a catastrophic collapse.
Videos of the 5:28 p.m. collapse of 7 World Trade lend vivid support to
truss-failure theory. Roughly 30 seconds before the building goes
rooftop mechanical room starts to disappear, falling into the building's
core. Then a second larger rooftop room sinks. The building then
Both rooms were above sections of the building held up by the trusses.
Other video evidence shows fire concentrated in the floors containing
trusses and the fuel tanks.
Dr. John D. Osteraas, director of civil engineering practice, Exponent
Failure Analysis Associates, in Menlo Park, Calif., reviewed videos of
collapse, discussed it with other engineers and came to a similar
conclusion; the fuel, the trusses and the fire brought 7 World Trade
''The pieces have come together,'' he said. ''Without the fuel, I think the
building would have done fine.''
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