Debunked: World Trade Center should not have collapsed due to 9/11 fires

Marc Powell

Active Member
Conspiracy theorists claim that steel frame structures are impervious to fire. So then, it is suspicious that the World Trade Center Twin Towers were not able to withstand the massive spreading fires they were subjected to on 9/11. In support of that concept, at the 14:23 mark in the 2014 David Hooper film, The Anatomy of a Great Deception (viewable in its entirety on YouTube at ), Hooper says:

“The World Trade Center has itself burned many times with no structural failure or weakening. Some significant dates include February 13, 1975 when the ninth to the fourteenth floors burned for three hours. No damage or weakening of the structure was recorded.”

While it is true that the 1975 fire did take three hours to extinguish, it did not engulf six floors in flames as Hooper would have his audience believe. Not only does Hooper grossly exaggerate the severity of the 1975 fire, he fails to mention factors that reduced its effect on the building’s structure. Below is a link to an article from the New York Times that describes the fire.

And here is what NIST scientists said in Section 6.5 of their Twin Towers Investigation:

“A major fire occurred in WTC 1 on February 13, 1975, before the installation of the sprinkler system. A furniture fire started in an executive office in the north end of an 11 floor office suite in the southeast comer of the building. The fire spread south and west along corridors and entered a file room. The fire flashed over, broke seven windows, and spread to adjacent offices north and south. The air conditioning system turned on, pulling air into the return air ducts. Telephone cables in the vertical shafts were ignited, destroying the fire-retarded wood paneling on the closet doors. The fire emerged on the 12th and 13th floors, but there was little nearby that was combustible. The fire also extended vertically from the 9th to the 19th floors within the telephone closet. Eventually the fire was confined to 9,000 ft2 of one floor, about one-fourth of the total floor area. The trusses and columns in this area had been sprayed with BLAZE-SHIELD D insulation to a specified 1/2 in. thickness. Four trusses were slightly distorted, but the structure was not threatened.”

In summary, in the 1975 incident, fire was limited to about a quarter of the office space on the 11th floor where it had spread slowly through office furnishings. Its propagation was further slowed by fire-resistant “demising” walls that partitioned office spaces into units no larger than 7,500 square feet. The fire on other floors was contained within a one-foot-square cable shaft that runs vertically between floors. It never broke out into office spaces or the building core. By way of comparison with 9/11, fireproofing was not dislodged from steel structural members, there was no structural damage before the fire started and large areas on multiple floors were not doused with accelerant (jet fuel) and instantly set ablaze. In addition, there was not almost the entire wreckage of a jet airliner and its contents burning among the office furnishings. One has to wonder why David Hooper and his Technical Director, Richard Gage, in their extensive research, did not come across information that proves their comparison of the 1975 fire and the 2001 terrorist attack to be unrealistic.


Senior Member.
Four trusses were slightly distorted
This quote from the NIST report directly contradicts the movie's claim that "no damage or weakening of the structure was recorded.”
The NIST report says that the damage didn't threaten the structural integrity of the building, but it did happen.

There would have been a lot less office electronics in the building in 1975 than in 2001.


Senior Member
The claim that you debunk is not "World Trade Center should not have collapsed due to 9/11 fires", but the specifics of a fire that the WTC previously survived, and an implied claim that the 1975 fire would be a valid point of comparison to the 9/11 fires.

Marc Powell

Active Member
The claim that you debunk is not "World Trade Center should not have collapsed due to 9/11 fires", but the specifics of a fire that the WTC previously survived, and an implied claim that the 1975 fire would be a valid point of comparison to the 9/11 fires.
Thanks for the clarification. I am a civil engineer, not a lawyer. I tried to come up with a title that was succinct but not accusatory.
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