Prelude 9/11 morning Flight 11 hijacked Flight 175 hijacked WTC 1 hit Flight 77 hijacked WTC 2 hit Flight 93 hijacked Pentagon hit WTC 2 collapses Flight 93 crashes WTC 1 collapses WTC 7 collapses Epilogue

Claim

The fires in World Trade Center 1 and 2 were not damaging enough to cause the collapse of the buildings. 0

Background

The final report from NIST on World Trade Center 1 and 2 concludes that the towers would not have collapsed if it hadn’t been for the missing fire insulation. The Truth Movement then claims that “no steel-framed high-rises have collapsed by fire alone.”

Fact

What usually is left out, is that NIST also distinguishes between ordinary office fires, namely:

  1. A fire starts in a building
  2. Fire protection technology (asbestos, sprinklers, firewalls, etc.) is intact
  3. Firefighting is possible

None of the fires in World Trade Center 1, 2, or 7 can be characterized as ordinary, since they began during the worst terror attack in the history of mankind. Given the circumstances, everything was chaos which rendered the emergency response fundamentally constricted. “Ordinary office fires” simply don’t come into play here.
Both planes caused considerable direct damage on the buildings, especially the core, floors, and colums. The violent impacts also caused fire protection to be blasted away as well as uncontrollable fires on those floors that were hit directly and on the floors above the impact.
The buildings collapsed differently due to the different circumstances of the impacts.1

The North Tower (WTC 1)
The fires weakened the perimeter columns, which caused the South side to sink. The weight of the floors pulled the overheated nearby columns inwards, which weakened their load capacity. The nearby columns quickly became overloaded when the South side began to bend inwards. Finally, the whole top section tipped South, causing the lower part of the building to collapse progressively.1

The South Tower (WTC 2)
The collision caused serious damage of the southeast corner of the building. The following violent fires caused the floors to sag. The weight of the floors caused the nearby overheated columns on the east side to bend inwards, which also weakened their load capacity.
The South Tower collapsed quicker than the North Tower, due to greater damage of the central part of the building, e.g. one of the corner columns which carried a great part of the weight of the above floors. Additionally, the impact occurred lower than on the North Tower, which meant that far more weight was above the weakened place of impact, resulting in an earlier collapse. Finally, the fires on the east side of the building kept on burning where the impact had blown away the fire protection from the steel.1
These photographs show clearly how violent the fires were, and how quickly they spread:

What is usually also left out, is that NIST makes it very clear that there is no evidence of the buildings being destroyed by controlled demolition.1

Logic

If fires cannot cause violent damage to steel constructions and cause those to collapse, there is no reason to use fire protection.
Likewise, it is difficult to imagine a worse situation than was the case: Huge amounts of plane fuel simultaneously starting fires on many floors, fires that were impossible to put out.
There is an odd contradiction concerning this particular claim: On one hand, conspiracy theorists find it suspicious that the fire fighters did not fight the fires. On the other, the same conspiracy theorists will categorically declare that there were not any violent fires in any of the buildings, and that the fires that were burning went out by themselves after a short period of time.

Conclusion

The claim is therefore:

  • Misleading
  • Undocumented
  • Illogical
  • Self-contradicting

Sources

  1. Løbeseddel, i11time.dk
    Niels Harrit, foredrag
  2. Final Report on the Collapse of the World Trade Center Towers, NIST, p. xxxvii-xxxviii

Q & A