The 9/11 Widows relentlessly lobbied Washington for an investigation of the collapse of World Trade Towers One and Two, but much to the families' frustration, the 9/11 Commission didn't even begin their investigation until 442 days after that fateful day.
What many Americans still don't realize is there were three buildings that collapsed on 9/11. The 9/11 Investigation which has since been renounced as flawed by both the Chair and Vice Chair of the Commission, didn't even attempt to explain WTC 7. In fact, the "definitive report" didn't even mention it.
Finally, after 2536 days of waiting, the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) issued a report on the collapse of World Trade Center 7 on August 21, 2008. NIST found that the building collapsed due to fire (the third steel framed building to do so in history--following WTC towers One and Two). According to NIST, the expansion of a heated steel girder caused the lateral support of a critical column to buckle, which resulted in a "cascade of local floor failures."
The report cautioned: "The reader should keep in mind that the building and the records kept within it were destroyed, and the remains of all the WTC buildings were disposed of before congressional action and funding was available for this investigation to begin. As a result, there are some facts that could not be discerned, and thus there are uncertainties in this accounting. Nonetheless, NIST was able to gather sufficient evidence and documentation to conduct a full investigation upon which to reach firm findings and recommendations.
The following are edited excerpts from the Director of NIST, Dr. Sivaraj Shyam-Sunder, who presented the report.
"I'm here to summarize the findings from our study of the collapse of WTC 7. The collapse of WTC 7 has been a source of extensive speculation. No planes hit the building. There was damage to the building from the collapse of WTC 1, which was 370 feet to the South.
"WTC Building 7 was 610 feet tall and 47 stories. It would have been the tallest building in 33 states. Although it was not hit by an airplane, it completely collapsed into a pile of rubble in less than 7 seconds at 5:20 pm on 9/11--seven hours after the collapses of the Twin Towers.
"We did not find any evidence that explosives were used in the collapse of building 7. The collapse was also not due to the fuel oil fires--the substantial amounts of diesel fuels that were in the building. Such fires from ruptured fuel lines or tanks could not have been sustained long enough and would not have produced the amount of heat to weaken critical columns.
"What we found was uncontrolled building fires similar to what we've seen in other tall buildings. The collapse of WTC 7 was primarily due to fires, but this is the first steel-framed building to do so."
Architects and Engineers Respond to the NIST Report:
Richard Gage, an architect who founded the group Architects and Engineers for 9/11 Truth [AE911Truth.org], and this is an edited excerpted transcript of what was said by that group.
Richard Gage: " If we accept the official NIST report, we have the first total progressive collapse due to office fires in history. In more than 100 steel-framed high rise office fires, most of them very hot, large, and long-lasting, not one has ever collapsed before in history. It behooves all of us to look at real alternatives that might have been the cause of these collapses.
"Let's start with temperature. 1340-degree temperature was recorded in thermal images of the surface of the WTC 7 rubble pile a week after 9/11 by NASAs AVIRIS equipment on the USGS overflights. Such temperatures cannot be achieved by oxygen starved, hydrocarbon-based fires such as what we have in WTC 7--such fires burn at only 600-800 degrees.
"Remember, there was no fire on the top of the pile after the collapse at ground zero, so the source of this incredible heat of 1340-degrees was below the surface of the rubble where it must have been far hotter--something like 3000-4000 degrees! Now where does this heat come from?
"Mark Loizeau, President of the company, Controlled Demolition who was hired for Building 7 clean-up said, 'molten steel was found at World Trade Center 7.'
"Leslie Robertson, the chief engineer in charge of design of the World Trade Center stated on October 5, 2001, '21 days after the attacks, the fires were still burning and molten steel was still running.'
"Fire Department personnel recorded on video reported seeing 'molten steel running down the channel rails like you were in a foundry. Like lava from a volcano.'
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