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Insufficient heat to cause collapse


OK, here it is:
Steel melts2700 degrees F
Hottest possible jet fuel fire1700 F
Eagar's estimate of how hot steel has to get before it gets melty enough to bend enough to make floors collapse1300 F
Eager's estimate of actual fire temperature1300 F
Hottest any column actually got, according to NIST evidence482 F

OK, nobody claims that the fire melted steel, at least not anymore. The first official explanation had steel melting, but that got laughed away pretty quickly. Now the story is all about steel weakening.
The first plausible-sounding official story was the one cooked up by Thomas Eagar, an MIT scientist. Incidentally, Eagar dismisses the idea that the impact of the planes weakened the building structure. The effect would have been insignificant, he says, because there were plenty of remaining columns to handle the load easily "in this highly redundant structure." So when we're talking collapse, we're talking fire.

So the first officially accepted version is Eagar's, which holds that the collapse could have happened if the steel lost 80 percent of its strength, which he reckons would be if it was heated to 1300 degrees F. Then it would get bendy, and some of the connectors or "angle clips" between the floors and the columns would pop loose, and then the rest of them would go from the extra stress and "unzip" all the way around. And then it's pancakes, all the way down.

If we assume this theory to be true as far as it goes, we still have the problem that it fails to explain why the steel columns weren't left standing. The theory says the floors came loose from the columns and pancaked down. So what happened to the columns? Why weren't any of them left standing...even a little bit? How does this theory explain why all the huge steel columns were broken into 30 foot lengths? It doesn't.

NIST acknowledged this difficulty in its subsequent theory, which is the second and currently reigning official theory. In this theory, the problem wasn't that the angle clips got melty and busted loose, the problem was that they hung on while the floors sagged, thus pulling the walls and columns inward and leading to "global collapse." How does this theory account for the totality, the suddenness, the symmetry of the collapse? It doesn't. It officially stops just at the point before any of that happened, thereby avoiding the issue. That's right: It doesn't even try to explain the most perplexing features!

OK, whatever. Let's talk fire. Let's think about this. Were the fires hot enough, big enough, and of long enough duration to do what either of the official theories claims? For a 1300 degree fire to heat steel to 1300 degrees, it would have firstly to be a large fire. Temperature and heat are distinguishable things. A light bulb or a match can have high temperature, but not much heat energy: too small. And secondly, the large fire would have to burn for a long time before the steel would reach that temperature because steel is an excellent conductor of heat and the columns would have distributed the heat all along their tremendous length.

These conditions did not exist. The fires were not that large and they did not burn for that long. Photos of the North Tower taken 16 minutes after impact show no flames, only black smoke. Lack of visible flames means the fires were pretty small, and the blackness of the smoke means the fires were being suffocated. The fires weren't even hot enough to break windows, since all the windows not smashed by the impact were still visibly intact, even those nearest the fire. In short, there was a huge fireball on impact, where most of the jet fuel was consumed, and then the fires were relatively small and of short duration.

Furthermore, firemen believed the fires were controllable. Audiotapes from radio transmissions indicate that firefighters made it as high up as the 78th floor of the South Tower, very near the crash site. They "showed no panic, no sense that events were racing eyond their control...Chief Palmer could see only two pockets of fire and called for a pair of engine companies to fight them" (New York Times).

As for actual direct evidence, NIST's own tests of some WTC steel that somehow escaped being shipped off to China show it reached a maximum temperature of about 482 degrees F. NIST is quick to dismiss the results because it was such a small sample of the steel. True enough. But it also means Eagar and anyone else who posits steel temperatures of 1300 F have zero evidence. It's pure conjecture, based on the conclusion they started from.

No steel-framed building has ever collapsed solely from raging fires. One Meridian Plaza, a high-rise in Philadelphia, suffered a far worse fire, a true raging inferno that burned for 18 and a half hours. Didn't collapse. Not even close. "We found the building to be very severely damaged but basically still intact," said Roger M. Ulshafer, the city's Fire Commissioner. Then he went on and added: "What is clear is that it's going to take a major renovation to get the building back in shape, maybe take even longer to renovate it than to tear it down and rebuild it." So not only is it not collapsing -- they think they can renovate!

Source: Griffin, p. 12-15
Marrs, p. 51-54
NY Times, "Philadelphia Fire Officials Rule Out Collapse of Tower," February 26, 1991.


Fires don't bring down steel skyscrapers. Incidentally, at the behest of NIST, UL tested a full-scale floor assembly like the WTC floors in a 35 foot furnace for two hours trying to get it to collapse and it didn't. So NIST threw out the test results and made a video from a "computer model" whose parameters are unknown. Fires don't make steel buildings collapse, and these particular fires sure as hell didn't. They weren't hot enough and they didn't burn long enough. It is all extremely suspicious.

Bottom line, me, I give it:

extremely suspiciousextremely suspiciousextremely suspiciousextremely suspicious


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