Posted by: Nick Poma | November 1, 2007

Questions Concerning the 911 World Trade Center Collapses

There are many questions surrounding the events of 911. Many of which were brought forth after that horrendous day. Many are being presented on a daily basis and they just seem to keep adding up. This article is my attempt to voice these questions and have the readers respond to them either through comments, or through rebuttal articles. It will be my intention to only comment on those things which can be validated by print media, audio recording, or video. I will not engage in hearsay, nor will I attempt to establish motive. I will simply put forth the facts.


The World Trade Center


To this writer there is no contestation as to whether planes hit the towers, or not, it is clear that they did. The contention around the World Trade Center was whether, or not the planes are what brought down the Towers. The first tower struck was the North Tower by American Airlines flight 11 at 8:46 AM. The South Tower was struck at 9:03 AM.


Fire and the Towers


There are those that believe that it is possible for the jet fuel to have burned and reached temperatures high enough to weaken the structural steel in the towers. This has been put forth by Popular Mechanics, and the 911 Commission Report is in agreement with this assessment. However, National Institute of Standards and Technology states that the jet fuel would have been likely burned up in the first initial moments after the impact. This would have only left those items inside the building to burn, which would only amount to a typical hydrocarbon fire.


In the NIST report it is stated that the fires did not move through the building evenly enough to cause bowing of the structural steel in such a way as to allow a straight down collapse, otherwise known as a, “Pancake collapse”. Both towers feel in exactly the same manner, even though they were hit in different areas, and at different heights. NIST also goes on in the report to state that, “Only three of the six recovered core columns exhibited signs of temperatures of 250 degrees Celsius.” Of course, structural steel does not melt until 1,600 degrees Celsius, and does not even weaken until about 600 degrees Celsius. Even the latter temperature has to maintained for a long period of time in order to cause a catastrophic failure. Anyone who has worked with steel knows that without a perfect mixture of air and gas, you cannot heat it up enough to melt, nor weaken it. As a matter of fact, when using a torch to shape, cut steel, there are three important factors. First is the amount of gas, second is the amount of oxygen mixed with the fuel, and the third is the distance of that particular flame from the steel. If any of these are not right, the steel will not weaken.


The fact that the fire in the building did not burn evenly throughout the floors causes an even larger enigma, considering that the structural steel and the many trusses would have to fail at exactly the same time in order for the building to collapse straight down. There is an issue with the speed of the collapses as well. The buildings completely collapsed straight down in roughly ten seconds give or take a second. The collapse would have started fast, but resistance with the load bearing bottom floors would have impeded the collapse, thereby slowing it down.


The speed at which these buildings fell was at freefall speed. This means that the upper floors met no resistance against the lower floors. This does not seem possible considering not only the bottom of the structures, but the forty eight, four inch steel columns which composed the core of the towers. However, it would be logical for a falling object to take the path of least resistance. This would mean that the top portion of the building would fall over to the side of the building and not directly down into it. If it were a true pancake collapse, we would expect to see the floors piled one upon another in the rubble. This, “Pancaking” is not apparent in the photos immediately following the collapse. Now, we can consider that there may have been a pancake collapse, but it does not explain how the center core of the building completely disappeared and not one column was left standing.


There is also the issue of the collapse of WTC 7. This building was not hit by any planes, yet it collapsed in the same manner as the other two towers. News anchor Dan Rather of CBS stated that, “The building as it was falling, looked like a controlled demolition.” That was the opinion of the majority of viewers that saw it as well. As I watched, I assumed that it was taken down intentionally due to safety concerns, but this has been denied by everybody in the government, and they state that the building came down due to fire, and structural damage.


In the history of the entire world, there has only been three buildings to suffer a complete collapse due to structural fire. All three of these incidents occurred on 911 at the World Trade Center.


Other Buildings in History which did not Collapse due to Fire


There have actually been a surprising amount of high-rise fires from which we can compare this tragedy to. The Windsor building in Madrid, Spain was a large scale fire in a three hundred and fifty foot steel framed building. The article states that, “The fire reached temperatures of approximately eight hundred degrees Celsius at the peak of the fire.” Although the fire ravaged the Windsor building for over fifteen hours, the building still did not collapse. It did however, suffer a partial collapse of the upper floors, but the structure was still sound enough to support the weight of a huge crane on the roof of the structure.


The Empire State Building is probably the most similar event to happen to another high-rise structure. In 1945 a B-25 bomber was lost in the fog when it slammed into the Empire State Building. While a B-25 bomber is not commiserate with a 767 airliner, in regards to weight, payload, and the amount of fuel it carries, the fact remains that it is a plane loaded with jet fuel that hit a skyscraper, and that building did not collapse. The bomber struck the seventy ninth floor, but did little structural damage, resulting in the loss of fourteen lives. Nevertheless, the Empire State Building stands intact to this day.


In 1991 the Meridian Plaza fire in Philadelphia burned for approximately nineteen hours consuming much of eight floors. The building was evacuated due to concerns of a pancake collapse, however the collapse never happened. The building was finally demolished floor by floor. Three firefighters lost their lives in this fire, which at the time was considered the worst high-rise fire in history.


The First Interstate Bank fire burned overnight in 1988. The building was a sixty two story steel framed high-rise in Los Angeles, California. The fire destroyed four floors, yet the building never collapsed. I could site many other instances, but I believe that just these examples are sufficient to determine the validity of whether or not a steel framed building will collapse due to fire.


Witness Statements at the World Trade Center


I do realize that witnesses can be unreliable in times of duress, or in extraordinarily stressful situations. However, they cannot be dismissed out of hand. Prior to the collapse of the first tower, it is seen in video clips that people are reporting that there are explosions going off in the World Trade Center. These reports come from reporters, as well as police and fire personnel. These are individuals who are conditioned to keep their cool and assess situations in times of crisis.


There is a video containing a culmination of news reports and eyewitness statements claiming that bombs and explosions were occurring at the World Trade Center. These clips include Firefighters, Police, and News Reporters.


Mark Burnback was a Fox News employee that happened to be close to the incident. He witnessed the plane approaching the second tower. He categorically states that, “The plane had no windows, and it was not a normal plane.” To this day he has not recanted his eyewitness report.


Answer to Popular Mechanics Report


Popular Mechanics has been trying to debunk the claims of those opposed to the official 911 story. With a quick reading of their website content, one finds that they practice the “Straw Man,” tactic. This is where they setup the questions the way they want and then knock them down one by one. They claim that burning jet fuel reaches temperatures of up to fifteen hundred degrees Fahrenheit, which is the equivalent to approximately eight hundred and fifteen degrees Celsius. Certainly this is enough to weaken structural steel; however the burn must be sustained for a length of time at this constant temperature.


It further states that, “Steel loses half of its structural strength at about six hundred degrees Celsius.” This of course depends on how long the steel is exposed to burning jet fuel. As the NIST states, most of the jet fuel burned up very quickly and what was left burning was actually the contents of the offices located in the towers. Further proof of this is people caught on video standing in the destroyed sections of the buildings. If it were hot enough to melt steel, it is unlikely that anyone would be standing where the fire was burning so ferociously.


In Closing


This is a very large subject and we have only covered the Trade Center Towers. In this article we have determined that there are some anomalies which should be answered. This article only contains a small sampling of the questions and allegations surrounding the events of 911. People are not willing to accept the accounting of the events of 911. Until there is a full investigation, this matter will not be put to rest. I do not expect to convince anyone that the government’s official story is not true, but I am putting forth my questions and thoughts of that day. In time the truth may become known and we will all be watching it on the History Channel, but until them, the controversy will continue.



Website – World Trade Center – Timeline:

PDF Document – NIST Report:

Website – 911 – Complete Timeline:

Video – Claims that the Plane that Hit the Second Tower was not a Commuter Jet

Website – Mark Burnback Interview Claims not a Normal Plane

Video – Collage of Reports of Bombs Going Off at World Trade Center:

Picture – WTC 7 Fire:

Website – WTC 7 Collapse:

Article – Windsor High-rise Fire in Spain:–Spain-Engulfed-by-Flames–Top-Floors-Collapse/46$39297

Video – Windsor building Fire:

Website – Empire State Building:

Picture – Empire State Building B-25 Crash:

Website – One Meridian Plaza Fire:

Picture – First Interstate Bank Fire:

Website – First Interstate Bank Fire:

Website – 911 Commission Report:

Video – Dan Rather Describing Collapse of WTC 7:

Website – Popular Mechanics:


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