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WTC-7: The Improbable Collapse

Mysteries abound about World Trade Center 7's (WTC-7) demise on September 11, 2001. In the early evening in the Big Apple of that horrific day this 47-story steel building suddenly collapsed. An odd series of failures had occurred.

They begin when a small amount of debris falls from the implosion of World Trade Center 1, a block away. Somehow small fires subsequently break out in WTC-7. The fireproofing systems completely fail. The fires burn all day from an unknown fuel. Eventually, the flames reach tanks of diesel fuel at ground level. Suddenly, the penthouse begins to fall. The entire lower levels immediately experience the same massive failures. About seven seconds later the entire building is gone. It takes a minute for 2 million square feet of office space to become a large pile of rubble.

Satellite photos later confirm that the vast majority of WTC-7's rubble rests in what was the building’s footprint. The neatness of the rubble enables clean-up crews to swiftly remove and recycle the steel after just a cursory examination.

World Trade Center 7 (WTC-7) was built in 1985. It was located across Vesey Street from the main World Trade Center compound. It was a largely-conventional steel building which had forty-four floors. Somewhat dark and sleek, it was designed by Emery Roth & Sons. It collapsed at 5:20 p.m. on September 11, 2001. Fortunately, WTC-7 had been evacuated and no one is known to have been killed by its demise.

It fell about seven hours after the strange collapses of the North and South Twin Towers. (WTC-2, the South tower, collapsed around 10:00 a.m. WTC-1, the North, came down about a half hour later.) The unknown quantity of debris from WTC-1 is said to have caused fires in WTC-7 that prevailed on the 11th floor.

Sherlock Holmes once remarks how odd it is that a guard dog did not bark at a midnight intruder. Similarly, it is curious how few people bothered to photograph a building about to totally collapse when destruction of an inconceivable scale had been released just hours before (only 200' away). Apparently, the WTC-7 fires were not photogenic. Indeed, when viewing the extant documentation there are only small fires that are localized within the offices of the Securites Exchange Commission (SEC). Ironically, never before 9/11/01 in history has a steel building even partially collapsed from a fire. Neither has any since.

According to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (“World Trade Center Building Performance Study”, document number 403, May, 2002), 36,000 gallons of diesel fuel was stored in diesel tanks just above and at ground level. The fuel, stored in fire-resistant containers, was there to run backup generators. However, the report never says for sure whether any burned. It also fails to confirm that burning diesel was the source of the building’s collapse. The report even ignores the biggest mystery of all. How this building could have fallen in its own footprint rather unlike what is expected from the Leaning Tower of Pisa is not discussed.

FEMA’s report is filled with rampant speculation and hypothetical scenarios. Throughout it are weasel-words such as “appears” and “apparently”. The tone is set in the first paragraph. It says that the “performance of” World Trade Center 7’s collapse is “of significant interest because it appears the collapse was due primarily to fire, rather than any impact damage from the collapsing [Twin] towers.” Overall, very little of this report is stated with conviction.

FEMA's nonchalance about WTC-7’s collapse is stunning. Structural failures of this magnitude do not normally take place. In addition, there was high-profile, large-budget government agencies leasing office space in WTC-7 that day. Besides the SEC, the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), the Department of Defense (DOD), the Internal Revenue Service (IRS) and New York’s Office of Emergency Management (OEM) were all tenants. None of the current heads of these departments have been vocal in demanding to know why this building collapsed. In addition, while some details have been released, a full accounting of what data these agencies lost has not been prominently reported.

Another source of curiosity is what the NYC Office of Emergency Management (OEM) was doing prior to 9/11/01. We know that the OEM took up the entire 23rd floor, serving as some sort of command center for then-Mayor Guiliani. Also, currently their website offers “Pet Preparedness” tips. However, their activities at that time remain a source of widespread speculation.

With the two-year anniversary of the destruction of the World Trade Center arriving the subject of WTC-7's odd disintegration is due some scrutiny by the liberal US media. To name just one, does Z Magazine believe that we now live in an era when tall steel buildings can collapse in large cities without any significant discussion of why? Even George Orwell might have trouble imagining that scenario.

Scott Loughrey

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