9/11 Truth and the Collapse of Steel Framed Buildings


The following text is  a reply an article by Ted Goertzel publishedin the Skeptical Inquirer

In his purported demolition of the alleged conspiracy theory about 9/11, Ted Goertzel writes in the January/February, 2011 SKEPTICAL INQUIRER “But no one had claimed that the steel (in the World Trade Center) had melted, only that it had gotten hot enough to weaken and collapse, which it did.”

However, it turns out, according to reputable sources, that no hydrocarbon fire has ever burned hot enough to cause the steel in a steel framed building to weaken and collapse either.  The 1992 edition of the National Fire Protection Association’s Fire Protection Handbook(1) says that structural steel does not even BEGIN to soften until it reaches a temperature of 425 degrees centigrade, or 837 degrees fahrenheit, and doesn’t loose half its strength until 650 degrees centigrade, or 1202 degrees fahrenheit.  And W. I. Edgar and C. Musse in their 2001 article “Why Did the World Trade Center Collapse? Science, Engineering and Speculation,” in the JOURNAL OF THE MINERALS, METALS AND MATERIALS SOCIETY (53/12:8-11) state that even with its strength halved, the steel in the World Trade Center could still support two or three times the stresses imposed by a 650 degrees centigrade or 1250 degrees fahrenheit fire.

These and other sources illustrate an important aspect of any investigation of an alleged conspiracy theory.  You can’t automatically assume that any theory which makes claims too far outside the bounds of generally accepted opinion is a crackpot conspiracy theory and reject it; you’ve got to use some intelligence and actually examing the evidence that purports to support the theory.  You can’t just mindlessly repeat — ‘you’ve got to be scientific;” “You’ve got to use reputable sources” — like some ritually chanted abracadabra.

Many other authorities have also stated that no steel framed building has ever collapsed because of fire.  Robert Berhinig, P.E. states in “Protecting the Foundation of Fire-Safety,” in the July/August, 2002 IAEI (International Associaton of Electrical Inspectors) that “the FEMA report states further that until the attack on the WTC, no protected steel framed buildings had been known to collapse as a result of fire.”

FEMA is the federal agency that later came up with a theory about thermal expansion to explain the collapse of World Trade Center 7.  Yet in this FEMA statement quoted by Berhinig, we have an admission by FEMA that no such thermal expansion from fire had ever collapsed a steel framed building, even though steel framed buildings had been around for more than a hundred years, since the 1880’s.

Three of the experts who testified before the House Committee On Science May 1, 2002 Hearing On the Collapse of the World Trade Center — Dr. W. Gene Corley, American Society of Civil Engineers and Chair of the Building Performance Assesment Team reviewing the WTC disaster; Dr. Arden L. Bement, Director of the National Institute of Standards and Technology; and Dr. Jonathan Barnett, Professor of Fire Safety Studies at the Worcester Polytechnic Institute — all stated that fire had never caused a protected steel framed building to collapse.  Yet on 9/11/01, fire was the claimed cause of three such collapses of WTC 1, WTC 2, and WTC 7.

In “Fire Inside: Strectural Design with Fire Safety in Mind,” by Carolyn Berry in the August 25, 2007 issue of SCIENCE NEWS, Allen Hay, chief fire safety officer of the New York City Fire Department said concerning World Trade Center 7: “We just expected it to burn out — we didn’t expect it to fall down.”  “It’s the only building I know of in New York City to ever collapse (strictly) from fire.”

Upon reading the SCIENCE NEWS article, it turns out that the NIST (National Institute of Standards and Technology) computer simulation, which purported to account for for the collapse of WTC 7, did not account for that building’s collapse.  In the paragraph in the first column on page 124 of SCIENCE NEWS, Berry writes: “The NIST simulation, like all models of building failures to date, couldn’t follow the 9/11 collapses through to the end.  No computer is yet powerful enough to follow the chaotic sequence of events that ensues when components break apart and a building falls, but this is where research is headed.”

In other words, the much vaunted NIST simulation, which purported to dispose of the arguments of we conspiracy theorists didn’t actually demonstrate how fire caused the buildings to collapse; they just waved their hands when the computing power currently available had took them as far as it could and said: “This is far enough; the buildings collapsed somewhere around here.”  Of course we all know we have accounted for how the buildings probsbly collapsed once we have gone this far.  It HAS to be the probable explanation because the only alternative explanation is those NUTTY, WACKO CONSPIRACY THEORIES!  We know A PRIORI that that CAN’T be true!

Since all three World Trade Center buildings,collapsed on to their footprints, or the areas on which they were standing, it is necessary to consult the article, “How Building Implosions Work,” by Tom Harris in the COLUMBIA ENCYLOPEDIA.  Harris writes: “You can demolish a stone wall with a sledgehammer, and it is fairly easy to level a five-story building using excavators and wrecking balls.  But when you need to bring down a massive structure, say a 20-story skyscraper, you have to haul out the big guns. Explosive demolition is the preferred method for safely and efficiently demolishing larger structures. When a building is surrounded by other buildings, it may be necessary to ‘implode’ the building, that is, make it collapse down into its footprint.”

In other words, planting explosives within a building at carefully preselected locations is the ONLY way to bring down a building on to its footprint. Conversely, if a building falls on to its footprint, we can be certain that explosives were planted within it.

But terrorists from Afghanistan would not be able to sneak past building security and stay hidden during the time they would need to preplant explosives at carefully preselected locations. Even a domestic  terrorist group would not be able to do this.  Only the U.S. government, or rogue elements within it, would be able to pull this off, a task made especially easy since both the FBI and CIA both had their offices in Building 7 of the World Trade Center.

The similarity of the destruction of World Trade Center 7 to controlled demolition was pointed ouut by Dan Rather when he said on the September 11, 2001 CBS News: “It’s reminiscent of those pictures we’ve all seen too much on television where a building was deliberately destroyed by well-placed dynamite to knock it down.”

Many of the firefighters, whose testimony is recorded in the oral histories that were made available to the public after an Appeals Court order reported on hearing and seeing the explosions that would occur in controlled demolitions.  Assistant New York Fire Commissioner Stephen Gregory said: “I thought that when I looked in the direction of the Trade Center before it came down, before Number Two came down, that I saw low-level flashes. In my conversation with Lieutenant Evangelista, never mentioning this to him, he questioned me and asked if I saw low-level flashes in front of the building, and I agreed with him… I saw a flash-flash-flash, and then it looked like the building came down. … No, the lower level of the building.  You know like when they demolish a building, how they blow up a building, when it falls down?  That’s what I thought I saw.”

Even though no hydrocarbon fire outside a blast furnace can melt steel, or even weaken steel sufficiently to cause a steel structure to collapse, and even if it could, it could not account for a building falling into its own footprint, since any fire would be unlikely to be equally hot and begin simultaneously at every point in a building, molten metal did appear in all three World Trade Center buildings.  An explanation for this molten metal can be found if we read chemist Kevin Ryan’s article, “Environmental Anomalies at the World Trade Center: Evidence for Energetic Materials,” in the March, 2009 THE ENVIRONMENTALIST. Ryan wrote: “The characteristics of these un-extinguishable fires have not been adequately explained as the results of a normal structure fire, even one accelerated by jet fuel.  Conversely, such fires are better explained by chemical energetic materials, which provide their own fuel and are not deterred by water, dust, and chemical suppressants.”

One such energetic material is thermite, a well mixed powder of iron oxide (rust) and aluminum.  It burns at a temperature of 4,500 degrees Fahrenheit. This is well above the 2,800 degrees Fahrenheit melting point of iron or steel but sometimes sufur is added to the mixture to lower the melting point of iron.  It can cut through steel like a hot knife through butter.

The necessity of preserving the evidence of thermites is emphasized in the 2001 Edition of the National Fire Protection Association NFPA 921 Guide for Fireand Explosion Investigations. “Thermite mixtures also produce exxeedingly hot fires. Such accelerants generally leave resiidues that may be visually or chemically identifiable. …As a result, the entire fire scene should be considered physical evidence and should be protected and preserved.”

But, as we have seen, the majority of the remains of the World Trade Center were shipped out to be melted down in China and Korea as soon as possible.

And in spite of repeated attempts by FEMA to deny the presence of molten metal in the ruins of the World Trade Center, there are many sources confirming that molten metal was present.  The April 1, 2002 WASTE AGE describes New York Sanitation Department workers moving “everything from molten steel beams to human remains.” A September 11, 2002 report in Government Computer News (GCN.com) quotes Greg Fuchek, vice-president of sales for LinksPoint Inc as stating: “In the first few weeks, sometimes when a worker would pull a steel beam from the wreckage, the end of the beam would be dripping molten steel.”  A June 29, 2002 MESSENGER-INQUIRER (Messenger-Inquirer.com) recounts the experiences of Bronx firefighter “Toolie” O’Toole, who stated that some of the beams liffted from deep within the catacombs of Ground Zero by cranes were “dripping from molten steel.”

The RecordOnLine.com contains “The Chaplain’s Tale,” an audio transcription of an interview of Ground Zero chaplain Herb Trimpe, who said: “When I was there, of course, the remnants of the towers were still standing. It looked like an enormous junkyard. A scrap metal yard, very similar to that. Except this was still burning.  There was still fire.  On the cold days, even in January, there was a noticeable difference between the temperature in the middle of the site than there was when you walked two blocks over on Broadway.  You could actually feel the heat.  It took me a long time to realize it and I found myself actually one day wanting to get back.  Why? Because I felt more comfortable.  I realized it was actually warmer on site.  The fires burned up to 2000 degrees, underground for quite awhile before they actually got down to those areas and they cooled off.  I talked to many contractors and they said they actually saw molten metal trapped, beams had just totally had been melted because of the heat.  So this was the kind of heat that was going on when those airplanes hit the upper floors.  It was just demolishing.”

A report in the Johns Hopkins PUBLIC HEALTH MAGAZINE about recovery work in late October quotes Alison Geyh, Ph.D., as stating: “Fires are still actively burning and the smoke is very intense.  In some pockets now being uncovered, they are finding molten steel.”  A publication by the National Environmental Health Association (NEHA.org) quotes Ron Burger, a public health advisor at the National Center for Envirinmental Health, Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, who arrived at Ground Zero on the evening of September 12.  Burger stated: “Feeling the heat, seeing the molten steel, the layers upon layers of ash, like lava, it reminded me of Mt. St. Helen’s and the thousands who fled that disaster.”  An article in The Newsletter of the Structural Engineers Association of Utah (SEAU News, page 3) describing a speaking appearance by Leslie Robertson, a structural engineer responsible for the design of the World Trade Center, contains this passage: “As of 21 days after the attack, the fires were still burning and the molten steel was still running.” 

A December 1, 2001 article in GROUND ZERO is based on a journal kept by a member of the New York Air National Guard’s 109th Air Wing who was at Ground Zero September 22 to October 6, 2001.  The article reads: “Smoke constantly poured from the peaks.  One fireman told us that there was still molten steel at the heart of the towers’ remains.  Firemen sprayed water to cool the debris down but the heat remained intense enough at the surface to melt their boots.”  The book AMERICAN GROUND says on page 32: “… or, in the early days, the streams of molten metal that leaked from the hot cores and flowed down broken walls inside the foundation hole.”  And a review of the documentary Collateral Damage in the March 3, 2004 NEW YORK POST (NYPost.com) describes firemen at Ground Zero recalling “heat so intense they encountered rivers of molten steel.”

Although most of the steel in the World Trade Center had been shipped out to China and Korea to be melted down, in clear violation of the laws requiring that the evidence from a crime scene be preserved for forensic investigation, some of the steel girders remained.  The flanges of many of the girders had been reduced to paper thinness, with holes indicating that the steel had not only melted but vaporized.And Janette Mackinlay had returned to her fourth floor apartment at 113 Cedar Street, about 100 meters, or 328 feet, from the south tower of the World Trade Center to clean up after it had been flooded with dust from the WTC collapse.  She saved some of the dust in a plastic bag. Brigham Young University Professor of Physics, Steven E. Jones, obtained some of the dust from Mackinlay in the presence of other scientists.  In his subsequent online paper, “Revisiting 9/11, 2001 — Applying the Scientific Method,” Professor Jones found round spheres of iron, indicating that the iron had melted and subsequently solidified during the fall.  Mixed in were aluminum and sulfur, clear indications of thermate.

And in January, 2009, Jones and other reported in their article, “Active Thermitic Material Discovered in Dust from the 9/11 World Trade Center Catastrophe,” in the OPEN CHEMICAL PHYSICS JOURNAL that they have found nanoscopic particles of unignighted thermate in the World Trade Center dust.  Ordinary thermate is only an incendiary, even though it burns at a temperature hot enough  to burn through steel.  Nano is a prefix meaning billionths of a meter and the smaller size of the nano particles of iron oxide, aluminum, and sulfur mean that a greater proportion of the particles are exposed on the particles’ surfaces and available to react with one another.  As a result, it burns so much faster that it becomes an explosive as well as an incendiary.

Grain millers are familiar with an analogous process.  Ordinary grain will burn but it becomes an explosive when ground into a fine dust.  Even a random spark can set off a catastrophic explosion when enough of it builds up in the air inside a grain mill.  The residents of my home town, Minneapolis, found out about this in the early 1900’s when one of the early grain mills exploded and hurled large pieces of concrete for several blocks.

Skeptics too often reject theories too far out of the mainstream dismissing them by conditioned reflex, out of rote as “crackpot,” “conspiracy theories,”
etc without actually looking at the evidence to determine whether the theory in question is actually a crackpot theory.  That won’t do; there is no substitute for intelligence.  In so doing, skeptics violate the very essence of what they purport to be and become “skeptics” instead of skeptics.

The boundaries of what is considered too far out of the mainstream to be credible has changed over time.  During the cold war, most Americans thought of our government as benign, with the exception of the occasional corrupt official, and any contrary views were considered far out conspiracy theories.  But Watergate, when a sitting President was shown to be complicit in attempting to burglarize the office of a competing political party marked a sea change in how U.S. citizens viewed their government.  Other immoral government actions that became public knowledge were the Tuskegee Experiment where Black men were left with untreated syphilis for decades so the federal government could study the progression of the disease and a cold war experiment where U.S. cities were sprayed with what was though to be a harmless chemical so the military could simulate the dispersal of germ warfare agents after spraying.  A few people in the sprayed areas were later found to have died of pneunomia.  A few years before all this came out, anyone who accused the government of such actions would be thought a raving, wacko, conspiracy theorist.

But in spite of Watergate, most Americans would not have though our government would be capable of killing its own citizens to whip up public support for something the government wanted to do, even though the Project for a New American Century had written that the American people may need a new Pearl Harbor to wake them up. 

But, as we have seen from the 1992 edition of the National Fire Protection Association’s Fire Protection Handbook and Edgar and Musse’s article in the JOURNAL OF THE MINERALS, METALS, AND MATERIALS SOCIETY, the temperatures reached in an hydrocarbon fire not only cannot melt steel, they cannot cause it to become soft enough to lead to the collapse of any steel structure of which they are a part.  The October 6, 2005 NEW CIVIL ENGINEER confirms that the steel from the World Trade Center ruins was shipped off to China and Korea to be melted down for recycling, although it is a felony to remove the evidence from a crime scene before all the forensic investigations have been completed.  The three expert who testified before the May 1, 2002 House Committee On Science Hearing on the Collapse of the World Trade Center all confirmed that no protected steel framed building had ever collapsed solely from fire except the three buildings that had collapsed on September 11, 2001. 

The August 25, 2007 SCIENCE NEWS informs us that the much vaunted National Institute of Standards and Technology simmulation of the collapse of WTC 7 did not actually follow the building through to its collapse.  And the same issue of SCIENCE NEWS also contains the statement of Assistant New York Fire Commissioner Stephen Gregory that no other steel framed building in New York had fallen because of fire. 

The COLUMBIA ENCYLOPEDIA ARTICLE on How Building Implosions Work confirmed that the ONLY way to make buildings fall on to their footprints is to carefully plant explosives within the building.  Conversely, if a building falls onto its footprint, we can be certain that someone has planted explosives inside the building.  Terrorists fron Afghanistan, or even a domestic terrorist group, would not be able to sneak past building security and remain unobserved long enough to plant the explosives.  And an article by Steven E. Jones and others in the January, 2009 OPEN CHEMICAL PHYSICS JOURNAL reports on the discovery of unignited particles of nano thermate in the dust from the World Trade Center.

Many Americans will find it difficult to face up to the realization that the government which we thought was there to protect us would actually murder 3000 of us in order to whip up public support for some political project they wanted to implement.  But we will not be the first people to have to face such a grim reallity.  The German government burned their own Reichstag in 1933 in order to whip up support for wiping out the Jews and had men dressed in Polish  army uniforms attack their own military bases near the Polish border in 1939 in order to get the German public to support the invasion of Poland.  And it came out after a Russian defecter was poisoned with polonium, something that only a developed nations government would have access to, that agents of the Russian government had been responsible for blowing up Russian apartment buildings to gain the Russian public’s support for reconqering Chechenya.

The final step in a criminal investigation is to ask who had the motive to do the crime.  Whose poll numbers shot up into the stratosphere after 9/11 and who gained the popular support to enable the invasions of Afghanistan and Iraq, abolish habaeus corpus and, at least, the de jure power to lock anyone up for life without a trial or even telling them why they were being imprisoned?  Only the neo cons and the Bush Administration, although Bush may have been only the front man and Dick Cheney the real power behind the throne.  Given the continuation of the Bush/Cheney policies with Obama, we will have to face the fact that we have only elected another person to fit into the slot for President in the same unchanged system.  It was the neo con Project for a New American Century who proposed that the U.S. seize the lands where the world’s dwindling supply of oil is located, who were quoted as saying that the American people may need a New Pearl Harbor to wake them up, and whose members moved into prominent positions in the Bush/Cheney Administration and whose policies have been continued in almost every detail under Obama.

But if enough people realize in time just how bad our government is, we can counter them before it is too late.

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Articles by: Robert Halfhill

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