An Independent Analysis
Written by P S Kayley BA (Hons)
The aim of this study was to assess the validity of a hitherto unknown risk in the realm of operational fire-fighting. A risk revealed as a result of a $50 million government investigation into a building collapse in 2001. This investigation identified that normal office fires, involving ordinary office combustibles at ordinary combustible load levels, can cause a fire-protected steel-framed building to suddenly and completely collapse during an operational fire-fighting incident.
In order to reach a responsible and reliable understanding of the true level of risk, this investigation has attempted to honestly and objectively follow all of the evidence and the data, wherever it might lead, without prejudice. The details and evidence from within the original government reports, independent expert reports regarding the collapse and its circumstances, as well as the experiences and evidence of witnesses and emergency personnel present at the incident, have all been included and evaluated.
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A summary of identified risks to Operational Firefighters:
● A normal office fire, involving ordinary office combustibles at ordinary combustible load levels, caused a steel-framed fire-protected building to suddenly and completely collapse.
● The collapse was not attributed to design or construction faults, damaged fire protection or significant structural damage. “Even without the structural damage, WTC 7 would have collapsed from the fires that the debris initiated.”-NIST
● The collapse was not due to aircraft impact, explosives, bombs or missiles.
● The existence of prolonged static fires from stored fuels was eliminated as a possible cause.
● “This was the first known instance of the total collapse of a tall building primarily due to fires” – Executive Summary – WTC7 Final Report, NIST (2008).
● Building height was not a dominant causal factor.
● The building employed the same design and construction as buildings of its type in the UK and worldwide.
● NIST made many recommendations for building design code changes, upgrades to fire protection and emergency procedures, thus indicating their view of a possible reoccurrence.
UK Fire Service Considerations
● Current UK Fire Service procedures rely on two main assumptions:
○ Normal office fires cannot cause the complete collapse of a steel framed building.
○ Any steel framed building will demonstrate signs of failure for a considerable period of time prior to any form of collapse. Signs would include sagging of steel beams and columns.
The NIST report of this collapse identifies these assumptions to be FALSE and DANGEROUS. If correct, an unrecognised risk has been identified and must be addressed in legal compliance with the Management of Health and Safety at Work Regulations 1999
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Since these events 15 years ago, Firefighters’ operational procedures have not been changed for fighting high-rise fires. In the UK, local government ‘Stay put’ policies, which advise residents in high-rise buildings and flats to remain in their property when there is a fire, have not been modified. The building design regulations have not changed and equivalent buildings have not been retrofitted with modifications to prevent a recurrence of Building 7’s collapse.
However, if NIST’s official report of what happened to Building 7 is maintained by our authorities as a valid explanation of events, in accordance with the Health and Safety at Work Act and other related legislation, all of the above factors need to be questioned and critically reassessed as a matter of great importance by fire services, local housing authorities, and building standards regulators.
Generally, as a rule, we tend to rely upon science rather than unfounded belief to understand our world. Science is defined as the search for truth. When a scientific truth is found, fundamentally this is always based upon a preponderance of positive probabilities. We hold these findings as true until we find a good reason to believe otherwise. A true and honest scientist will always accept questioning of his hypothesis and continue to test its validity. From my observations of NIST’s analysis of this collapse, observations shared by many highly qualified professionals in their respective fields, an honest scientific approach has not been pursued.
The deliberate and immediate removal and destruction of nearly all the evidence at the scene of the crime, the failure to even mention the collapse of Building 7 in the 9/11 Commission Report, combined with the catalogue of errors and omissions in the NIST report, all aggregate to destroy any credibility this report might hope to convey.
The claims made by NIST that the sprinkler operation and fire-fighting efforts failed, due to poor water supplies and limited resources, were false and only serve to further diminish their credibility. This building’s fires could have been contained and extinguished well in advance of the alleged structural failures.
The experts’ evidence of the building’s uninhibited gravitational free fall acceleration, its symmetrical collapse perfectly into its own footprint, witness testimonials of explosions, evidence of explosive residues, and ‘certain foreknowledge’ of the building’s collapse, all points compellingly towards an alternative hypothesis – a deliberate case of controlled demolition. A hypothesis which, if the scientific principle of Occam’s razor had been applied, should have been the first to have been tested.
This analysis has been completed without being influenced or prejudiced by the details of the politics in the background of this incident. The data and the evidence alone dictated what the study discovered. Unfortunately, it’s an unavoidable fact that this case is connected with politics and, speaking personally, I can say with open sincerity that I trust Newtonian Physics and the laws of nature infinitely more than I trust politics. As previously stated, gravity is not just a good idea, it’s a law. In agreement with thousands of expert architects, engineers, and scientists, the findings of this analysis identify that the risks to Firefighters at this incident were not due to faulty architecture, sub- standard engineering, untested fire-fighting procedures or a miraculous fire-induced building demolition.
The sudden and complete collapse of a steel-framed high-rise building due to normal fires presents as little risk to operational Firefighters today as it did in the days before this event.