Debunked: Demolition Explosion Before Collapse of South Tower

Marc Powell

Active Member
Conspiracy theorists claim that a cloud of white “smoke” that appeared to envelop the base of the South Tower in advance of the falling debris cloud from its collapse is evidence of explosives used in its demolition. In the 2014 David Hooper film, The Anatomy of a Great Deception (viewable in its entirety on YouTube at ), a short and unsteady video clip is presented at the 48:25 mark that appears to show the smoke. Here is a frame from that point in Hooper’s film:

1 - Steam From Van.jpg

The narrator (David Hooper, himself) tells the audience:

“In this footage, which has been slowed, you can see white smoke emanating from the ground floor before the collapse wave arrives. It's an unsteady camera, but keep in mind, whoever recorded this was running for their life. It was like watching a stunt car explode before it crashes at the bottom of a cliff.”

However, that is a misrepresentation. What may appear to be white smoke emanating from the lower levels of the South Tower was really steam from water being directed onto a burning utility van (the same van discussed in my 8/13/2021 Metabunk thread). Below is a picture of the van engulfed in flames as seen from a point on West Street south of the Liberty Street Pedestrian Bridge. This is almost the exact same angle as in the video clip presented in Hooper’s film.

2 - Roll_7_27.jpg

Presented below is a picture that shows the scene from a vantage point north of the pedestrian bridge as steam had begun to form a cloud above the van:

3 - 1670_055.jpg

It is documented in the first responder oral histories that firefighters had been ordered to extinguish the flames in several burning vehicles that had been parked in a surface parking lot south of the South Tower and set ablaze by falling debris. The video in Hooper’s film was apparently taken just as the firefighters had begun their work and as the South Tower had begun to collapse.

Please note that both pictures presented above are from the 2011 NIST Freedom of Information Act release. Here are their URLs: 4/42A0003 - 3of3/Roll_7_27.jpg 5/42A0004/FDNY/1670_055.jpg


  • 1 - Steam From Van.jpg
    1 - Steam From Van.jpg
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Was this debris from the initial impact?
Debris from both airplane impacts rained down on the Edison Park Fast lot. There is no way to say for sure which was responsible for igniting the vehicle fires visible in NYPD photos. My guess would be Flight 175 since it was more directly overhead.
Is what is being described in this exchange what has just been debunked?

I saw on one video a huge explosion under the South tower a few seconds before the collapse started. Unfortunately, the video I saw has been deleted by YouTube and while other videos show that explosion, there are buildings in the way and it is not so obvious in them.
When asked to describe the video, he weote:
The explosion video starts with a bunch of people having drinks in what seems to be an open air restaurant next to the water across the river from the WTC while watching the towers burn. This goes on for a long, boring time, but I was determined to view it to the end. The base of one tower can be seen, and since the other one was still standing, it must have been the south tower. I think there was a church dome not far away to the left. There are very few or only one angle that it could have come from, since all other views have buildings in the way. Then, all of a sudden, I hear an explosion, the ground around the tower seems to bounce a bit, then smoke comes out of the ground all around it. The collapse starts a few seconds afterwards. I have seen another video from that angle, but it starts after the explosion.

Claims regarding evidence seen in videos that have been suspiciously removed from YouTube can be ignored. Such videos probably only exist in the imagination of the claimant.
He did say, and I quoted, that it could be seen in other videos as well.
Bruce Patin is famous for claiming he saw evidence of CD in videos for which he can't seem to provide a reference. Do you really think he saw a video where diners were casually having early morning drinks at an open air restaurant on the wharf as the towers burned, jumpers fell and thousands of first responders arrived on the scene? It’s all just imaginary nonsense. Patin is trolling. Ignore him.
Is this sarcasm?
I've had a discussion with Bruce Patin on Quora and he brought up the same video he claims to have seen but that, suspiciously, is no longer available. I can only assume he references his imaginary video frequently just to see what kind of reaction it brings. Rest assured, if there had been a massive explosion at the base of the South Tower immediately before it collapsed, it would be documented on more than one missing video and Patin would not be the only one to know about it.