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 claim is made, among others, by the Danish retired chemistry professor Niels Harrit:

“Basically nothing happened to Building 7 when the north tower collapsed.” 0

Background

The claim is used to support another claim, namely that the World Trade Center 7 collapsed due to a controlled demolition.

Facts

Prior to the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) publishing its detailed report on the World Trade Center 7, the common explanation given by some experts was that the World Trade Center 7 either collapsed due to fire, structural damage, or a combination of both. Today, we know that fire was the direct cause and that the fires started due to debris from the collapse of the World Trade Center 1

NIST explains what happened:

“What caused the fires in WTC 7?

Debris from the collapse of WTC 1, which was 370 feet to the south, ignited fires on at least 10 floors in the building at its south and west faces. However, only the fires on some of the lower floors-7 through 9 and 11 through 13-burned out of control. These lower-floor fires-which spread and grew because the water supply to the automatic sprinkler system for these floors had failed-were similar to building fires experienced in other tall buildings. The primary and backup water supply to the sprinkler systems for the lower floors relied on the city’s water supply, whose lines were damaged by the collapse of WTC 1 and WTC 2. These uncontrolled lower-floor fires eventually spread to the northeast part of WTC 7, where the building’s collapse began.
How did the fires cause WTC 7 to collapse?

The heat from the uncontrolled fires caused steel floor beams and girders to thermally expand, leading to a chain of events that caused a key structural column to fail. The failure of this structural column then initiated a fire-induced progressive collapse of the entire building.

According to the report’s probable collapse sequence, heat from the uncontrolled fires caused thermal expansion of the steel beams on the lower floors of the east side of WTC 7, damaging the floor framing on multiple floors.

Eventually, a girder on Floor 13 lost its connection to a critical column, Column 79, that provided support for the long floor spans on the east side of the building (see Diagram 1). The displaced girder and other local fire-induced damage caused Floor 13 to collapse, beginning a cascade of floor failures down to the 5th floor. Many of these floors had already been at least partially weakened by the fires in the vicinity of Column 79. This collapse of floors left Column 79 insufficiently supported in the east-west direction over nine stories.

The unsupported Column 79 then buckled and triggered an upward progression of floor system failures that reached the building’s east penthouse. What followed in rapid succession was a series of structural failures. Failure first occurred all the way to the roof line-involving all three interior columns on the easternmost side of the building (79, 80, 81). Then, progressing from east to west across WTC 7, all of the columns failed in the core of the building (58 through 78). Finally, the entire façade collapsed.” 1

Whether the damages to the World Trade Center 7 can be characterized as significant or not is basically a question of temperament. Fire fighters, photographers, and witnesses in the area describe the damage as very extensive. Among these is a giant hole in the corner of the building.

There are also photographs and videos of the damage:

It can be difficult to see part of the damage in great detail due to extensive smoke from the fires in the building, but even so the answer is irrelevant when it comes to turning the reason for the collapse of the World Trade Center 7 into a problem.

Logic

The claim is misleading and of no current interest, because the premise is that the collapse of the World Trade Center 7 is due to structural damage which is not the case.

The claim results in a quaint contradiction, since the Truth Movement on one hand doubts that the World Trade Center 7 was significantly damaged by debris from the World Trade Center 1, because there was all of 100 meters between the two buildings, and on the other hand categorically states that debris weighing several tons could fly about 150 meters horizontally at speeds of more than 180 km/h, a claim that is based on the debris that were ejected from the World Trade Center 1 and 2, when those buildings collapsed, and are presented as an argument in favor of explosives in those buildings.

Another quaint contradiction is that the Truth Movement on one hand finds it suspicious that the fire fighters did not fight the fires in the World Trade Center 1, 2, and 7, and on the other claims that there were no large fires in any of the buildings and that those small fires that were present died out on their own after a short time.

Conclusion

The claim is therefore:

  • Misleading
  • False
  • Undocumented
  • Without technical evidence
  • Self-contradicting

Sources

  1. Det Syvende Tårn, Niels Harrit Foredrag — Part 1, (4/6), 04:45
  2. Questions and Answers about the NIST WTC 7 Investigation, NIST

Q & A