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Debunking Brent Blanchard's Wtc Analysis, LC Transfer

post Mar 1 2007, 10:11 AM
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In August 2006, a report was written by Brent Blanchard, Senior Editor for Implosionworld.com and Director of Field Operations at Protec Documentation Services, Inc. Conveniently appearing one month prior to the 5th anniversary of the 9/11 attacks and entitled "A Critical Analysis of the collapse of the WTC 1,2 and 7 from an Explosives and Conventional Demolition Industry Viewpoint", the report was written in an attempt to "debunk" the claim that explosives and/or similar catalysts contributed to the collapse of the World Trade Center. You can read the text of the report here:

However, there are many problems with this report which I have detailed below:

#1 Impact

Brent claims the breaking point is where the plane impacted and not from the the lower floors as per a standard CD. He claims that:

"Since their inception in the late 1800s, blasting engineers have understood that building implosions work best when the forces of gravity are maximized. This is why blasters always concentrate their efforts on the lowest floors of a structure."

Firstly, the claim "work best when" doesn't mean "won't work unless", and "concentrate their efforts" doesn't mean to always initiate a controlled demolition from the base. To prove this point, here is a slideshow of a top-down implosion:

Secondly, the objective of the controlled demolition applied to the Twin Towers was the decidedly different one of producing collapses that could be explained as having been caused by the aircraft crashes and fire damage. Hence, the destruction was started around the crash zones and then moved downward.

Third, both aircraft flew directly into secure computer rooms in both buildings. Is that simply a coincidence or were the computer rooms equipped to play a role in the crime? Were there homing devices, for example, in these rooms that guided the planes to their targets? If so, the charges would have been arranged so as to avoid these regions. Assuming that the jetliners were being flown by autopilot at the times of their impacts, their GPS navigation systems could have kept the targeting error margin to within a few feet. More on this can be found here:

In his paper, Brent states that it would have been impossible for explosive charges placed on those upper floors to have survived the impacts, however, this assertion is both superficial and also overlooks the following:

1. Some charges may indeed have been set off by the crashes but masked by the huge fireballs created by the combustion of aerosolized jet fuel.

2. Explosives can be engineered so that heat alone will not detonate them. The plastic explosive C4, for example, requires the simultaneous delivery of high heat and pressure to induce detonation.

3. It is relatively easy to design casings for explosives that would allow them to survive even the most violent assaults. Consider that the black boxes that store aircrafts' voice and data recorders protect their contents from impact accelerations of 3,400 Gs and from temperatures of 2,000 F for up to 30 minutes.

#2 Collapse

Brent claims that unlike a normal CD, the buildings did not fall straight down into their own footprint; rather they followed the path of least resistance. He also claims because the supporting elements of such a building are spread over a large area, they are not merely as rigid as those occupying a smaller footprint; therefore the laws of gravity cause them to fall downward upon being weakened or tipped off center to a certain point.

However, for a building to progressively collapse downward at near-freefall speed, it would be necessary to take out the supporting structure ahead of the demolition wave. As we can see from all video evidence, the collapse met little, if any resistance from the floors below.

If the scenario of a progressive collapse were to be correct, we would be witnessing an inevitable slowdown of the "pancake-like" effect, as the demolition wave would lose momentum on its way to the ground. The only way for such a collapse to be possible at the speed witnessed would be for explosive charges to be cutting the steel core at least several stories below the wave – this is confirmed in all video evidence by obvious plumes bursting outwards. The sections of the cores above the first skylobbies were completely obliterated.

Furthermore, Brent points out that because the weight and mass of the upper sections forced the floor trusses rapidly downward, there was no way for outer perimeter walls to fall in, so instead they fell out. However, what Brent doesn't tell you is that both of the twin towers exhibited a mushrooming behavior as they collapsed, resulting in the dispersion of their steel over areas several times the size of their footprints.

The mushrooming plumes of dense dust and steel began at the impact zones, and rapidly expanded. By about five seconds into each collapse the diameter of the mushrooming plume was about three times the diameter of the tower. In the absense of a plausible calculation of the amount of kinetic energy transferred from the falling mass, the distance and velocity with which this debris was ejected can only be explained by the presence of explosive forces within the towers.

Careful examination of the collapse of the South Tower reveals debris being ejected outward before the upper mass began to move. NIST have asserted that it was the kinetic energy released from the falling upper mass which contributed to the failure of the lower floors, however, kinetic energy is only present in a moving object, and thus if the upper mass has yet to move, then there is no kinetic energy.

Furthermore, several pieces of evidence show that most of the towers' mass landed outside of their footprints in a highly symmetric distribution.

1. Photographs of the collapses show that many pieces of metal were hurled far from the towers, slightly beyond the frontiers of the dust clouds. Although some of that material may be the exterior aluminum cladding, several photos show large assemblies of the perimeter walls hundreds of feet from the towers.

2. The huge hole in WTC 6 seems only explainable as the result of falling pieces of the north wall of the North Tower. The centerline of that hole is approximately 150 feet away from the tower's north wall, giving an indication of the average lateral distance its steel constituents were thrown.

3. The mounds of twisted steel pieces at Ground Zero were nearly as high outside of the towers' footprints as within.

FEMA's official report provides a graphic of the distribution of the perimeter wall column pieces:


Many eyewitnesses who were near the South Tower when it began its precipitous collapse reported sights and sounds of explosions.

Explosive ejection of dust early in the collapse of the South Tower is clearly visible in the NBC video taken from far to the east. In addition to the large ejections of white dust from the left wall, the video shows a small high-speed ejection toward the back of the right wall, visible as a small white fleck in the first frame to the right.

Many of the photographs of the tower collapses show solid objects, such as sections of steel columns and aluminum cladding of the outer walls, being thrown ahead of the expanding dust cloud. This pattern is characteristic of explosive demolitions. According to Chapter 1 of FEMA's own report pieces of the steel columns and plates of the perimeter walls were thrown over 500 feet from the towers. The distribution pattern diagram suggests that, with both towers, perimeter wall pieces were thrown an average of about 150 to 200 feet outward. This is corroborated by the shape of the vertical holes in WTC 6.

A three-second movie shows about 2.5 seconds of the South Tower collapse starting at about three seconds into the plunge of the tower's top. The short movie shows the roughly spherical debris cloud nearly double in size, even accounting for the perspective. The leading edge of the wave is about to reach the 44th-floor sky lobby when the camera operator turns to run.

Though the view of the building is brief, looking at it in slow motion reveals some peculiar features. At the very start of the clip we can see how perfectly even the collapse is, advancing with what looks for all the world like rows of explosions progressing in a perfectly straight line around the building, and advancing down in an extremely uniform way. As the demolition wave advances there is only dust and smoke where the top of the building used to be, and a great quantity of dust mixed with small pieces of structural steel is ejected out horizontally at high speed. To account for this very rapid ejection of debris without the use of high explosives, especially in the early stages of the collapse, seems quite impossible.

If you look closely as the wave travels down it seems to spare the corners, perhaps letting them lag behind to help keep the implosion aligned. The demolition wave is clearly advancing ahead of the actual collapse of the structure, and speeds up as it travels down. The delays between demolition charges would have to be very precisely controlled to create this effect, suggesting to me that each floor was wired to a separate detonator, with control of the sequencing most likely done remotely. This would also allow the collapse to be triggered from the point of impact of the plane to make it look more realistic. Such sequencing could easily be done from a laptop connected wirelessly to the towers, as long as each floor could be detonated separately.

#3 Squibs

Brent claims, "Neither the building structurally failed at any location where plumes were visible…nor did they fail at any point in advance of the single gravitational collapse."

It would be interesting to know exactly which squibs Brent is referring to, as his assertion is simply not true. Firstly, take a look at this picture of the North Tower collapse:


Here you will notice the symmetrical nature of the squibs. If we view the entire video taken from this angle, equally symmetrical plumes can also be seen bursting a distance of approximately 15 stories above and below those seen in the picture. The timing, sequencing and distance between each group is consistent with the use of high speed explosives cutting the core ahead of the demolition wave; thus removing any resistance from the falling floors.

Furthermore, the occurance of plumes is simultaneous to immediate structural failure from within; consistent with explosives being placed on/around the core as opposed to support columns for the outer structure. The purpose of these being to assist a rapid collapse, as opposed to bringing the towers down into their own footprint as per the case of a conventional CD.

Viewing the first frames of the North Tower collapse, the antenna begins to fall before the demolition wave, therefore the collapse must have been initiated from the central core. Using these frames as a reference while considering the momentum of the collapse; the position of the internal structural failure can be accurately placed to correlate with the appearance of plumes.

The claim that each plume was nothing more than air pressure being propelled horizontally is also a fallacy. Defenders of the gravity collapse theory consistently invoke the explanation that the ejections of dust are caused by pancaking floors squeezing out air and dust, however, there are several problems with this explanation, which we designate the piston theory:

1. The squibs contain thick dust of a light color, apparently from crushed concrete and gypsum. But these materials would not have been crushed until the pancaking floors above impacted the floor emitting the squib. Thus the dust would not be produced until the air was already squeezed out, so there was no source of the dust for the squib.

2. The squibs emerge from the facade 10 to 20 floors below the exploding rubble cloud inside of which the tower is disintegrating. The thick clouds appear to contain the pulverized concerete of the floor slabs, which was the only concrete component of the tower. But the piston theory requires that the floors have already pancaked down to the level of the squib, making them unavailable for the production of the concrete dust more than 10 floors above.

3. The piston theory requires a rather orderly pancaking of the floor diaphragms within the intact sleeve of the perimeter wall. Such a process should have left a stack of floor diaphragms at the tower's base at the end of the collapse. But there was no such stack. In fact, it is difficult to find recognizable pieces of floor slabs of any size in Ground Zero photographs.

4. The North Tower exhibits three distinct sets of squibs at different elevations of the building. Each set is visible as two distinct squibs on the same floor, one emerging from about the horizontal center of each of the tower's two visible faces. This pattern is is far too focused and symmetric to be explained by the piston theory, which would produce similar pressures across each floor and over successive floors.

5. The pancaking of floors within the perimeter wall would have created underpressures in the region above the top pancaking floor. But we seen no evidence of dust being sucked back into the tower.

A more recent variant of the piston theory is the "syringe" theory. The syringe theory dictates that due to the "pressure" with which debris was forced downward within the intact sleeve of the perimeter wall, some debris was "inevitably" ejected horizontally from the building. However, the syringe theory also suffers from points 4 and 5 above.

Brent's assertion that the bursting points were dependant on the condition of the windows and/or obstructions is patently absurd, as the effects of these would be negligible.

#4 Explosions / Seismic data

Here is what Brent has to say in response to those who experienced explosions from inside the towers:

"Maybe they did hear loud noises that sounded to them like explosions, but such statements do not refute scientific evidence that explosives were not used…Arguing over who heard explosion-like noises, when they heard them, how loud they were or from what direction they came is a pointless exercise."

Such a statement is extremely dismissive. Explosions were not only heard, but also witnessed by numerous persons including firefighters, NYPD, reporters, and many workers from inside the towers. Many were also adamant of hearing explosions. To allege they were confusing this sound with generally sharp, loud noises is not only absurd, but also condescending. Scientific evidence does not refute the claim explosives were used, on the contrary it strengthens the case.

Brent further comments:

"In all cases where seismographs detected the collapses, waveform readings indicate a single, gradually ascending and descending level of ground vibration during the event. At no point during 9/11 were sudden or independent vibration "spikes" documented by any seismograph, and we are unaware of any entity possessing such data."

It is clear Brent has not compared the seismic data recorded by LDEO with the FAA radar data and air traffic control software. This places a 14 second spike prior to AA11 impacting the North Tower, and another 17 second prior to UA175 impacting the South Tower. The FAA data was in turn adopted as the official time of impact by the 9/11 Commission Report.

Seismic signals were recorded by several seismographs, including those at the Lamont-Doherty Earth Observatory at Columbia University. These originated from two events that occurred at the WTC site immediately prior to both aircraft impacts. As these signals preceded the impacts, there can be no doubt that the signals recorded were not those associated with the aircraft impacting the towers. These spikes were associated with the huge basement explosions reported by witnesses.

Furthermore, contrary to a conventional controlled demolition, the WTC was blown top-down. Explosions between the 70th and 90th floors would not result in sufficient energy transference traveling down to the sub-basement structure. Had the WTC been blown from the base as per the case of a conventional demolition, this would have generated strong P waves in addition to S waves upon initiation. The fact that only S waves were recorded is consistent with the WTC being blown top-down, which is clearly possible depending upon the order in which the charges are detonated.

Energy from these initial explosives would have been absorbed by the building's immense structural mass and therefore would not have resulted in significant seismic readings. Seismic spikes from explosives detonating on the lower floors would have been masked by building remains hitting the ground.

A more detailed analysis of the seismic data can be found here:


#5 Evidence of Thermite / Thermate

Brent has addressed the issue of evidence to support this claim in 4 points. You can read what Brent had to say in italics, with my comments below:

"1. The vast majority of comments made by rescue workers, city officials or various others not involved in the actual demolition process at Ground Zero regarding the heat of underground fires or "molten anything" (steel, aluminum, tin, composites, etc.) are conjecture and have no practical value in determining what types of materials were actually burning and at what temperature. Most were simply never in a position to know, and those that were have acknowledged that they don't know for sure."

While the types of materials burning cannot be ascertained without further scientific analysis; for example, X-ray fluorescence to ascertain the actual composition of the molten metal, these observations are consistent with the use of the high-temperature thermite reaction used to cut or demolish steel.

You can see the approximate areas of thermite / thermate concentration on the thermal image taken on the 14-Sep-2001 (below):


As you can see, there is a high concentration of these hot spots on the eastern corners of WTC2 (thermal image points "F" and "G"), WTC7 has pools more or less where the fires were seen, i.e. eastern edge (point "A" in thermal image) and WTC1 (points "C" and "D") which were at the opposite face to the impact hole. The highest temperature was in the east corner of the south tower where a temperature of 1377°F was recorded. Furthermore, the molten steel found in the basements was more than double that temperature.

For such intense residual heat to persist 70 feet below the surface is not consistent with the findings published by the NIST or FEMA reports. This clearly requires further investigation.

"2. Photographs that we have examined purporting to show demolition equipment extracting "molten steel" from the debris at Ground Zero are inconclusive at best, and most are inaccurate as described. Extracting various hot metallic compounds or debris is one thing, but "molten steel beams" is quite another. As a fundamental point, if an excavator or grapple ever dug into a pile of molten steel heated to excess of 2000 degrees Fahrenheit it would completely lose its ability to function. At a minimum the hydraulics would immediately fail and its moving parts would bond together or seize up. The heat would the quickly transfer through the steel components of the excavator and there would be concern for its operator. The photos we have reviewed on various websites do not show any of this, and if anything, indicate that the underground fires – while very hot – were not hot enough to melt steel."

It is not clear from any pictures that molten material is being extracted; merely that it is inconclusive what we can infer from such pictures. For the stated reasons it is unlikely this metal would have been extracted in molten form. However, in no way does this suggest that such metal was not extracted after it had cooled and solidified. From pictures taken of the solidified slag we can clearly see a red rust; suggesting a high iron content. Bearing in mind the end products of the thermite reaction are aluminum oxide and molten iron, these observations are again consistent with the by-products of such a reaction.

“3. In an effort to further research this assertion, we spoke directly with equipment operators and site Foremen who extracted beams and debris from Ground Zero. (several of whom have requested anonymity to prevent harassment). These men worked for independent companies in separate quadrants of the site, and many were chosen due to their extensive experience with debris removal following explosive demolition events. To a man, they do not recall encountering molten structural steel beams, nor do they recall seeing any evidence of pre-cutting or explosive severance of beams at any point during debris removal activities.”

It would be helpful if we could ascertain the exact stage of the cleanup that these workers extracted beams and debris. The entire cleanup took nearly 9 months – ample time for any molten material to cool and/or solidify. For Brent to claim none of these people encountered molten material would suggest their involvement at a later stage in the cleanup.

Moltern metal was reported within the first few days following the collapse, and this is an observation confirmed by Mark Loizeaux of Controlled Demolition Inc. In the two pictures below we can observe examples of molten metal found at the scene after the collapse at Ground Zero:



Furthermore, the claim that these workers did not encounter evidence of pre-cutting or explosive severance of beams is inconsistent with photographic evidence from the wreckage. Below is just one of many pictures presented to a demolition expert who requested anonymity to prevent harassment:


Here you can see an angular cut; the purpose of which is to control the direction of the falling column. This is consistent with the use of the “shaped charge” as per a controlled demolition. To the question of whether the column could have been cut in this way by any steelworker he was adamant that the suggestion alone was absurd, as to manually cut a steel column at such an angle is both impractical and unnecessarily time consuming.

Had these workers been at Ground Zero in the days immediately following the collapse, it is unlikely such phenomena would have gone unnoticed.

“4. The assertion that thermite played a role in the towers’ collapse has been put forth by Professor Steven Jones, a Professor at Bringham Young University. The author spoke with Professor Jones at length in February 2006, and we have corresponded via email a few times since. As he has explained it, metallurgic tests were conducted on two sections of steel beams that were saved for 9/11 memorials in the New York area. These beams apparently tested positive for “trace amounts of thermite”, which led Jones to conclude that thermite was used on 9/11 by unknown parties to compromise support beams in WTC 1,2 and 7. Professor Jones acknowledges that his investigation is still in the research phase and that questions regarding the viability of his theory still remain unanswered. For example, it is unknown how thermite’s destructive process could have been applied and initiated simultaneously on so many beams – in several buildings – undetected and/or under such extreme conditions. It is also unusual that no demolition personnel at any level noticed telltale signs of thermite’s degenerative “fingerprint” on any steel beams during the eight months of debris removal. And a verifiable chain of possession needs to be established for the tested beams. Could they have been cut away from the debris pile with acetylene torches, shears, or other potentially contaminated equipment while on site? Could they have been exposed to trace amounts of thermite or other compounds while being handled, or in storage, or during the transfer process from Ground Zero to the memorial sites? We do not know the answers, but these and many related questions should be addressed if this assertion continues to be persued.”

If Brent had thoroughly investigated how thermite could have been initiated undetected and simultaneously applied to so many beams, he would be familiar with US Patent 6,183,569 B1 – “The Thermite Charge”. Such a device would be directly placed on the necessary steel beams and remotely operated in very much the same way as the RDX charge used in a conventional demolition. Furthermore, the fact that thermite’s degenerative “fingerprint” was not reported by demolition personnel in no way implies thermite was not used. Only a limited number of steel beams would have been in direct contact with the compound.

FEMA's volunteer investigators managed to perform limited metallurgical examination of some of the steel. The results of their examination revealed that a "liquid eutectic mixture containing primarily iron, oxygen, and sulfur" formed during a "hot corrosion attack on the steel." Eutectic reactions have never been seen before in building fires. Furthermore, these reactions caused "intergranular melting capable of turning a solid steel girder into Swiss cheese." Professor Steven Jones has pointed out that the reported severe corrosion, intragranular melting, and abundance of sulfur are all consistent with thermite arson.


#6 Destruction of the Evidence

The claim is not that the shipping of the steel was “rushed” or expedited but rather that the steel was not preserved for thorough examination. Bearing in mind this was the structural material of the building, the steel was the most important evidence which could tell us how the buildings came to fail. This was not merely scrap – it was evidence from a crime scene.

A thorough investigation should have been undertaken at Ground Zero before any steel workers were allowed into the site. As this was a crime scene, the removal of steel and debris was not only unethical, it was also illegal. Only 150 pieces of more than 350,000 tons of steel were saved for study.

FEMA’s volunteer investigators undertook the official investigation from the Fresh Kills landfill in Staten Island; therefore the pieces of steel provided to them would have been first picked over by those running the cleanup. FEMA's BPAT, who undertook the investigation, were not given access to Ground Zero. In fact, they were not even allowed to collect steel samples from any of the salvage yards.

Furthermore, an unprecedented level of security was seen for the removal and transport of the steel. For instance, GPS locators at $1,000 a piece were installed on each of the many trucks hauling the steel away from Ground Zero. In an article published by Securitysolutions.com, the following claim is made:

“Ninety-nine percent of the drivers were extremely driven to do their jobs. But there were big concerns, because the loads consisted of highly sensitive material. One driver, for example, took an extended lunch break of an hour and a half. There was nothing criminal about that, but he was dismissed.”

It is highly unlikely such security measures were undertaken merely to prevent theft. The theft of such a high profile cargo would not have gone unnoticed and no similar precedent had ever been set by a demolition. It would appear the purpose of these security measures were to ensure the steel did not end up anywhere other than a smelting furnace.

#7 WTC Building 7

Points 1 and 2 both relate to Larry Silverstein’s "admission" that he made the decision to "pull" Building 7. Brent claims that the term "to pull" does not mean to demolish a building, and that it is not a term he is familiar with. However, according to Controlled Demolition Inc, the term "to pull" does indeed mean to demolish a building. More on this can be found here:


Brent's assertion that the collapse of WTC 7 was merely caused by damage sustained by the collapse of the North Tower is also a fallacy. Building 7 was separated from the North Tower by Building 6 and Vesey Street. If we look at pictures of its north facade we can see isolated small fires, and not even a single broken window. From pictures taken of the other side of the building we can see a fair amount of smoke, however, no sign of fire. The maximum temperatures seen by the few steel samples saved were only around 500 °F. This is far too low to weaken even un-fireproofed steel.

Building 6 suffered substantially greater damage with steel girders and aircraft parts raining down upon it. Also, it appears that intense fires raged through the building and we can see from the appearance of the remains that it probably had fires similar in severity to those in WTC 5. However, despite the severity of these fires and the massive structural damage shown by the holes, WTC 6 did not collapse.

Furthermore, the assertion by some "debunkers" that the collapse of WTC 7 was attributed to 25% being scooped out from the base is also a fallacy. From all pictures of the hole we cannot see any damage to the internal structure of the building. Had this damage induced the subsequent failure of those support columns we would have witnessed an asymmetrical collapse. Since the building imploded straight down into its own footprint, it is clear that that the hole had little, if any bearing on the collapse.

WTC 7 contained 24 large steel support columns and trusses arranged asymmetrically, along with approximately 57 perimeter columns. A symmetrical collapse as observed requires the simultaneous "pulling" of most or all of the support columns. The Second Law of Thermodynamics implies that the likelihood of complete and symmetrical collapse due to random fires is very small as asymmetrical failure is far more likely. Therefore, it is highly unlikely that the implosion seen at WTC 7 could have been anything other than a controlled demolition.

The testimony of Brent's chosen eyewitness (a fellow demolitionist) is also dubious, as it contradicts the testimony of other who were at the scene. At least three other people reported a loud explosion and a "crackling", all of which are consistent with a controlled demolition.

Brent's eyewitness claims to have had foreknowledge of the collapse, however, how could this be, when no steel framed building had ever collapsed due to fire? Furthermore, what was a demolition team doing at the scene of a burning building? Could it be that Brent's eyewitness knew that the building was about to come down for the very reason that he was part of the team brought in to demolish Building 7? If so, then someone who may be involved in the coverup does not make for the most credible eyewitness.

Observing the collapse of 47-story WTC 7 shows it to have all of the features of an implosion engineered by controlled demolition:

1. The collapse of the main structure commences suddenly (several seconds after the penthouse falls).

2. The building sinks in a precisely vertical manner into its footprint.

3. Puffs of dust emerge from the building's facade early in the event.

4.The collapse is total, producing a rubble pile only about three stories high.

5. The main structure collapses totally in under 7 seconds, only about a second slower than it would take a brick dropped from the building's roof to reach the ground in a vacuum.

Furthermore, evidence of thermite can be seen from the molten metal found beneath Building 7. As with the molten metal found beneath WTC 1 & WTC 2, the solidified slag exhibited red rust suggesting high iron content. Bear in mind molten iron is the end product of the thermite reaction. Falling buildings generate insufficient energy to melt large quantities of metal and the government reports admit these fires were insufficient to melt steel beams. Therefore, where did this molten metal come from?

Also, some of the steel members from WTC 7 had been partly evaporated. Again, this is inconsistent with the official story as fires involving paper, office materials, and even diesel fuel cannot generate sufficient heat to reach temperatures near the 5,000+ °F needed to evaporate steel. However, thermite can easily reach the temperatures necessary to evaporate and slice through steel.

Once again, Brent fails to provide seismic data to support his "fire and debris demolition" theory and admits that:

"[he does] not know exactly how or why WTC 7 fell when it did"

Well, maybe Brent should listen to this man, as he knows exactly how and why WTC 7 fell when it did:



Demolitionist Danny Jowenko claims that:

"[WTC 7] Absolutely did not [come down from fire]. Absolutely. I looked at the building, I looked at the construction, so no, absolutely not."


#8 No Steel-framed Building Has Ever Collapsed Due to Fire

Brent succinctly addresses this claim in the following statement:

“The fact is, many steel-framed structures have collapsed due to fire. And as with those failures, the collapse of all three buildings on 9/11 involved specific structural conditions.”

This is an outright lie – prior to the publication of Brent's report, no steel-framed building has ever collapsed due to fire! If Brent’s statement were true it would have been backed it up by the appropriate authority. I have extensively researched the claim and have not found a single example of a steel structure collapsing due to fire damage. I personally challenge Brent to prove his assertion.

No sound evidence has ever been put forth by either the FEMA or NIST reports that all three buildings on 9/11 collapsed due to fire. The claims cited by the initial FEMA reports amounted to nothing more than speculation. NIST conducted experiments on actual floor models, exposing them to the same conditions as could realistically be expected on 9/11. The structures did not fail. Therefore, the NIST turned to a computer simulation instead where the parameters were changed from “realistic” to “extreme”. On page 44 of their report it is noted that heat requirements were adjusted upwards in the simulation until they were sufficient to cause structural failure; absent the realistic expectations of the heat output from any fires that day. This process is known as curve fitting and is considered junk science. It is also a far-cry from ethical practice.

Therefore, before making such an assertion, maybe Brent should consult a Civil Engineer to recieve an ethical expert opinion. Here is what William Rice has to say on the subject:

Why the towers fell: Two theories
By William Rice

Posted March 1, 2007

Having worked on structural steel buildings as a civil engineer in the era when the Twin Towers were designed and constructed, I found some disturbing discrepancies and omissions concerning their collapse on 9/11.

I was particularly interested in the two PBS documentaries that explained the prevailing theories as determined by two government agencies, FEMA and NIST (National Institute of Science and Technology). The first (2002) PBS documentary, Why the Towers Fell, discussed how the floor truss connectors failed and caused a “progressive pancake collapse.”

The subsequent 2006 repackaged documentary Building on Ground Zero explained that the connectors held, but that the columns failed, which is also unlikely. Without mentioning the word “concrete,” the latter documentary compared the three-second collapse of the concrete Oklahoma City Murrah Federal Building with that of the Twin Towers that were of structural steel. The collapse of a concrete-framed building cannot be compared with that of a structural steel-framed building.

Since neither documentary addressed many of the pertinent facts, I took the time to review available material, combine it with scientific and historic facts, and submit the following two theories for consideration.

The prevailing theory

The prevailing theory for the collapse of the 110-story, award-winning Twin Towers is that when jetliners flew into the 95th and 80th floors of the North and South Towers respectively, they severed several of each building’s columns and weakened other columns with the burning of jet fuel/kerosene (and office combustibles).

However, unlike concrete buildings, structural steel buildings redistribute the stress when several columns are removed and the undamaged structural framework acts as a truss network to bridge over the missing columns.

After the 1993 car bomb explosion destroyed columns in the North Tower, John Skilling, the head structural engineer for the Twin Towers, was asked about an airplane strike. He explained that the Twin Towers were originally designed to withstand the impact of a Boeing 707 (similar in size to the Boeing 767). He went on to say that there would be a horrendous fire from the jet fuel, but “the building structure would still be there.”

The 10,000 gallons of jet fuel (half capacity) in each jetliner did cause horrendous fires over several floors, but it would not cause the steel members to melt or even lose sufficient strength to cause a collapse. This is because the short-duration jet fuel fires and office combustible fires cannot create (or transmit to the steel) temperatures hot enough. If a structural steel building could collapse because of fire, it would do so slowly as the various steel members gradually relinquished their structural strength. However, in the 100-year history of structural-steel framed buildings, there is no evidence of any structural steel framed building having collapsed because of fire.

Let’s assume the unlikelihood that these fires could weaken all of the columns to the same degree of heat intensity and thus remove their structural strength equally over the entire floor, or floors, in order to cause the top 30-floor building segment (South Tower WTC #2) to drop vertically and evenly onto the supporting 79th floor. The 30 floors from above would then combine with the 79th floor and fall onto the next level down (78th floor) crushing its columns evenly and so on down into the seven levels below the street level.

The interesting fact is that each of these 110-story Twin Towers fell upon itself in about ten seconds at nearly free-fall speed. This violates Newton’s Law of Conservation of Momentum that would require that as the stationary inertia of each floor is overcome by being hit, the mass (weight) increases and the free-fall speed decreases.

Even if Newton’s Law is ignored, the prevailing theory would have us believe that each of the Twin Towers inexplicably collapsed upon itself crushing all 287 massive columns on each floor while maintaining a free-fall speed as if the 100,000, or more, tons of supporting structural-steel framework underneath didn’t exist.

The politically unthinkable theory

Controlled demolition is so politically unthinkable that the media not only demeans the messenger but also ridicules and “debunks” the message rather than provide investigative reporting. Curiously, it took 441 days for the president’s 9/11 Commission to start an “investigation” into a tragedy where more than 2,500 WTC lives were taken. The Commission’s investigation also didn’t include the possibility of controlled-demolition, nor did it include an investigation into the “unusual and unprecedented” manner in which WTC Building #7 collapsed.

The media has basically kept the collapse of WTC Building #7 hidden from public view. However, instead of the Twin Towers, let’s consider this building now. Building #7 was a 47-story structural steel World Trade Center Building that also collapsed onto itself at free-fall speed on 9/11. This structural steel building was not hit by a jetliner, and collapsed seven hours after the Twin Towers collapsed and five hours after the firemen had been ordered to vacate the building and a collapse safety zone had been cordoned off. Both of the landmark buildings on either side received relatively little structural damage and both continue in use today.

Contrary to the sudden collapse of the Twin Towers and Building #7, the four other smaller World Trade Center buildings #3, #4, #5, and #6, which were severely damaged and engulfed in flames on 9/11, still remained standing. There were no reports of multiple explosions. The buildings had no pools of molten metal (a byproduct of explosives) at the base of their elevator shafts. They created no huge caustic concrete/cement and asbestos dust clouds (only explosives will pulverize concrete into a fine dust cloud), and they propelled no heavy steel beams horizontally for three hundred feet or more.

The collapse of WTC building #7, which housed the offices of the CIA, the Secret Service, and the Department of Defense, among others, was omitted from the government’s 9/11 Commission Report, and its collapse has yet to be investigated.
Perhaps it is time for these and other unanswered questions surrounding 9/11 to be thoroughly investigated. Let’s start by contacting our congressional delegation.

William Rice, P.E., is a registered professional civil engineer who worked on structural steel (and concrete) buildings in Boston, New York, and Philadelphia. He was also a professor at Vermont Technical College where he taught engineering materials, structures lab, and other building related courses.


This post has been edited by Beached: Jun 2 2007, 11:41 AM
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post Mar 1 2007, 11:22 AM
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rob balsamo
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A home run as usual Beached... good work!
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post May 14 2007, 11:23 AM
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The USGS images are still online.

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