(Ben Sellers, Liberty Headlines) A four-year study by a coalition of architectural scholars reports that fire did not cause the collapse of one of the World Trade Center buildings on Sept. 11, 2001.
Rather, the study said the collapse of WTC 7 was the result of a simultaneous collapse of its support columns—a point sure to stir discussion among so-called truthers, who claim the nation’s deadliest terrorist attack was an inside job.
The project, underwritten by the nonprofit Architects & Engineers for 9/11 Truth, simulated extensively the various scenarios that would have caused the collapse of the 47-story building, which stood just north of the Twin Towers.
“It is our conclusion that the collapse of WTC 7 was a global failure involving the near simultaneous failure of all columns in the building and not a progressive collapse involving the sequential failure of columns throughout the building,” said the study.
“Despite simulating a number of hypothetical scenarios, we were unable to identify any progressive sequence of failures that could have taken place on September 11, 2001, and caused 112 a total collapse of the building, let alone the observed straight-down collapse with approximately 2.5 seconds of free fall and minimal differential movement of the exterior.”
Official reports indicated that the building collapsed around 5:20 p.m. after debris from the falling North Tower ignited fires, causing the steel support beams to melt. (The two Twin Towers, on the other hand, collapsed as the result of the impact from being hit by Al Qaeda-hijacked commercial airliners.)
WTC 7 was said to have been the “first and only steel skyscraper in the world to collapse because of fire,” according to a 2008 BBC News story after the National Institute of Standards and Technology released its “conclusive” study, temporarily tamping down truthers’ hypotheses.
Prior to that, conspiracy theorists like “View” co-host Rosie O’Donnell had openly questioned the assertion that fire caused the third building to collapse.
“It is impossible for a building to fall the way it fell without explosives being involved,” O’Donnell said on a March 2007 broadcast of the ABC talk show, as reported by Popular Mechanics.
“For the first time in history, steel was melted by fire,” she said. “It is physically impossible.”
The building, which housed offices for the Secret Service and CIA, rapidly fell inward on itself roughly seven hours after the other two buildings collapsed, leading some to speculate that it was a controlled explosion.
Almost 20 years later, the debate now rages on.
The new AE911 report said that the earlier report based its conclusions on a faulty model.
“NIST over-estimated the rigidity of the outside frame by not modeling its connections, essentially treating the exterior steel framing as thermally fixed, which caused all thermally-induced floor expansion to move away from the exterior,” it said.
The research was conducted through the Institute of Northern Engineering at the University of Alaska Fairbanks. While the recent release is said to be a draft version, the institute is in the process of uploading its complete data, which it will submit for both peer review and public comment before finalizing the report sometime after Nov. 1 this year.
Already, the AE911 website contains ample evidence to support its theory, including testimonials and simulations of the building’s fall.