Discussion of the definition of unfought fires and are they considered in designing a stucture

econ41

Senior Member
It was more over whether the reasoning given by Nigro in that statement made much sense. This part specifically:

Now maybe loud noises and such also played a part, but that's not what he says. The reasoning given seems to be "Damage from impact + Fires = Likely collapse". I think it's just a bizarre thing to say, the main issue being him conflating the damage of planes striking WTC 1 and 2 with that of debris hitting WTC 7.
That is an inappropriate bit of reasoning.

He knew that the planes had impacted the towers and both towers had remained standing BUT subject to very large - extensive and intensive - fires. And they both collapsed - prima-facie as a result of the fires. Not the aircraft impacts.

And WTC7 was also the subject of extensive fires.

And, don't overlook the primary objective - the occupants of WTC7 had escaped. Primary goal satisfied.

And - the factor that most members seem to be overlooking. In such a situation an Emergency Incident Commander will prefer the prudent safety first choice. The fact that there was a probability of collapse and that the probability was worsened by observation plus expert advice favours the prudent "pull back" or "pull out" decision so popular as a target for truther word play mendacity. The basis of the decision was never guaranteed certain assurance that collapse would occur. The reality that it could occur was the correct basis. Especially since occupants had escaped.

I'm experienced in emergency management (Floods, bushfires, large scale water supply failures - not directly in high rise fires) and cannot fault the prudent decision made by those commanders. The actual collapse does to some extent vindicate their choice. BUT that choice would still have been correct if WTC7 did not collapse.

Do try to look at the event and that decision from the on the day in real time perspective. Emergency decisions have to be made in real time. They should not be judged in hindsight 20/20 vision by armchair critics who have never been in that front line role and have no empathy for the actual situation.
 
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Mendel

Senior Member.
Thank you!
[Aug. 21, 2008] Federal investigators said Thursday they have solved a mystery of the Sept. 11, 2001, attacks: the collapse of World Trade Center building 7, a source of long-running conspiracy theories.

The 47-story trapezoid-shaped building sat north of the World Trade Center towers, across Vesey Street in lower Manhattan in New York. On Sept. 11, it was set on fire by falling debris from the burning towers, but skeptics long have argued that fire and debris alone should not have brought down such a big steel-and-concrete structure.
Well, in that context, you could interpret that the cause of the collapse had been a mystery to "skeptics" and conspiracy theorists, but that the NIST report was thought to lay their objections to rest.
 

Mendel

Senior Member.
Do we still have any open questions regarding the fire safety of building designs?
By my reckoning, they all seem adressed.
 

Henkka

Banned
Banned
That is an inappropriate bit of reasoning.

He knew that the planes had impacted the towers and both towers had remained standing BUT subject to very large - extensive and intensive - fires. And they both collapsed - prima-facie as a result of the fires. Not the aircraft impacts.

And WTC7 was also the subject of extensive fires.
So was One Meridian, First Interstate Bank, etc, etc... Buildings that were the subject of extensive fires, but were not hit by a plane. So we had lots of past experience indicating that these sort of buildings would not collapse in normal fires, even ones lasting up to 19 hours. Then two planes hit two buildings, which then collapsed not even 2 hours later. The intuitive conclusion to draw from that is that the plane impact itself was a major contributing factor to the collapse, even if you don't understand the precise mechanism yet. That could be due to the physical damage, removal of fire proofing, jet fuel, or something like that.

Concluding from the collapses of WTC 1 and 2 that a building that was not hit by a plane could also collapse from fires doesn't seem justified to me.
And - the factor that most members seem to be overlooking. In such a situation an Emergency Incident Commander will prefer the prudent safety first choice. The fact that there was a probability of collapse and that the probability was worsened by observation plus expert advice favours the prudent "pull back" or "pull out" decision so popular as a target for truther word play mendacity. The basis of the decision was never guaranteed certain assurance that collapse would occur. The reality that it could occur was the correct basis. Especially since occupants had escaped.
I think if you look at various statements leading up to the collapse, there isn't much talk of "probability". There's many more similar quotes, but if you just look at what I quoted in post #103, what they're expressing is a near certainty that the building would collapse. Even Nigro in his statement uses wording like "will collapse" rather than "might collapse":
The collapse of WTC 1 & 2 showed that certain high-rise structures subjected to damage from impact and from fire will collapse.
So before 9/11, a steel high rise totally collapsing from fires was unheard of, an "unknown unknown" that wasn't really even considered in cases like One Meridian. Then in the hours leading up to 5:20PM on 9/11, it became a virtual certainty that WTC 7 would be the first building in history to do so. But then for seven years after that, it was a "mystery" why it collapsed from those fires. Can you see it from my point of view at all, how it doesn't feel like this narrative adds up?
 

Mendel

Senior Member.
Concluding from the collapses of WTC 1 and 2 that a building that was not hit by a plane could also collapse from fires doesn't seem justified to me.
Except that the "light debris" from WTC1 had done serious-looking damage to the building, and the building itself had shown signs of instability (bulging, noises etc.). We've been over this here, and extensively in the other thread, you've been shown the quotes, there's no excuse for ignoring it at this point.
 

Henkka

Banned
Banned
Except that the "light debris" from WTC1 had done serious-looking damage to the building, and the building itself had shown signs of instability (bulging, noises etc.). We've been over this here, and extensively in the other thread, you've been shown the quotes, there's no excuse for ignoring it at this point.
Well, it depends on if you take that stuff at face value or consider it skeptically. Like about the building bulging or creaking... So what? I'm sure lots of burning buildings had exhibited those same signs before, without collapsing.
 

Mendel

Senior Member.
There's many more similar quotes,
Sure. AE911truth compiled them at https://www.ae911truth.org/images/PDFs/Beyond-Misinformation-Appendix-B.pdf (attached). This is why I noted the thread is moving into well-explored truther territory. However:
it's plausible that this idea moved up from possibility to anticipation during the afternoon, as the building deteriorated further, more information was collected, and experts were consulted.
Read more, including sources, in the post I'm quoting from.



but if you just look at what I quoted in post #103, what they're expressing is a near certainty that the building would collapse. Even Nigro in his statement uses wording like "will collapse" rather than "might collapse":
Except he doesn't say WTC7 will collapse. He says "certain buildings will collapse", and it looks like he's unsure if WTC7 is one of them. And it's not the only reason, this is the context, AND we're talking about the time of the "abandon WTC7" decision and not later in the afternoon:
Again, here's the press release that FDNY Chief Daniel Nigro issued on September 23, 2007 ahead of the release of the NIST report:

[...]
Early on the afternoon of September 11th 2001, following the collapse of WTC 1 & 2, I feared a collapse of WTC 7 (as did many on my staff).

The reasons are as follows:

1 - Although prior to that day high-rise structures had never collapsed, The collapse of WTC 1 & 2 showed that certain high-rise structures subjected to damage from impact and from fire will collapse.
2. The collapse of WTC 1 damaged portions of the lower floors of WTC 7.
3. WTC 7, we knew, was built on a small number of large columns providing an open Atrium on the lower levels.
4. numerous fires on many floors of WTC 7 burned without sufficient water supply to attack them.
Content from External Source
 

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FatPhil

Senior Member.
Well, it depends on if you take that stuff at face value or consider it skeptically. Like about the building bulging or creaking... So what? I'm sure lots of burning buildings had exhibited those same signs before, without collapsing.

How many had been partially demolished by one of the world's tallest buildings falling on them?
 

Mendel

Senior Member.
Well, it depends on if you take that stuff at face value or consider it skeptically. Like about the building bulging or creaking... So what? I'm sure lots of burning buildings had exhibited those same signs before, without collapsing.
If you're a fire chief, you shouldn't ignore this.
"it didn't collapse that one time it bulged" is just unsafe reasoning.
which you are making up just now.
 

Henkka

Banned
Banned
How many had been partially demolished by one of the world's tallest buildings falling on them?
Neither of the buildings "fell on" WTC 7... See the debris map drawn by FEMA I posted earlier.
@Henkka @Thomas B please answer this
Yeah I think it's clear the thread has moved pretty far from the OP, and become "WTC 7 general". Like I'm fine with it, because imo it's interesting to discuss, but it's no longer pertinent to the OP.
If you're a fire chief, you shouldn't ignore this.
"it didn't collapse that one time it bulged" is just unsafe reasoning.
which you are making up just now.
The reasoning isn't "Another burning building bulged and didn't collapse". It's "Not a single tall building has ever collapsed in the history of fires". Even though I'm sure many of them creaked and bulged, probably due to thermal expansion.
 

Mendel

Senior Member.
Like about the building bulging or creaking... So what? I'm sure lots of burning buildings had exhibited those same signs before, without collapsing.
Here's a pre-9/11 source (excerpted):
Article:

Building Collapse Indicators​

April 1, 1997

Collapse indicators involving fire conditions:
  • Two or more floors fully involved
  • Continued or heavy fire
  • High heat and heavy smoke conditions coupled with inadequate ventilation

Bulging, leaning or partial wall failure. As failure occurs on the interior of a building, the failing structural members can exert an outward pressure on the exterior wall. This may show by walls bulging or leaning outward. Movement or failure of a wall may occur slowly, or quite rapidly with seemingly little or no warning. Through a combination of interior collapses and movement of structural members or due to a major interior collapse, failure of part of an exterior wall can occur.
 

Mendel

Senior Member.
Yeah I think it's clear the thread has moved pretty far from the OP, and become "WTC 7 general". Like I'm fine with it, because imo it's interesting to discuss, but it's no longer pertinent to the OP
Thank you for your answer.

I'm not fine with it, please find a more appropriate thread, or create one.
 

econ41

Senior Member
Do we still have any open questions regarding the fire safety of building designs?
By my reckoning, they all seem adressed.
The "Big Question" is not addressed. As far as I can see @Thomas B and I are the only two who recognise that question. And Thomas B doesn't agree with my explanations of the dynamic situation we should be discussing. We have attempted discussion in PMs. @Thomas B, I and several others have touched on the topic tangentially.

The problem arises because both structural and fire resistance design are evolutionary processes. Put simply until "we" try something "we" cannot anticipate the problems. So problems will almost certainly arise when a building design pushes the boundaries of understanding and relevant design standards.

The WTC Twin Towers designs pushed the limits of structural engineering innovation for their day. The engineering structural designs were significant steps forward in the evolution of structural design. (And many more recent designs have gone further - so WTC structural design is now "old hat") "Fire resistance" design was not as innovative relying on blanket rules. And the two - structural and fire design were not integrated for WTC. A problem clearly explained in, among other things, the Dr Torero presentation linked by @benthamitemetric some weeks ago in one of these ridiculously fragmented threads. "We", the members involved in these several fragmented discussions, are trying to discuss bits of the overall picture without any clear comprehension of the overall scenario.

The need is for integration of all aspects of design into one coherent overall setting which meets the requirements of performance under fire scenarios. << And THAT concept may be too "strategic" or "too philosophical" for some of our members. Hence the persistence in discussing details whilst ignoring the real big piucture scenario,

I have offered several times, to several members and in various forms to discuss the "big picture" framework for these topics. No takers so far. :rolleyes:
 
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Henkka

Banned
Banned
Here's a pre-9/11 source (excerpted):
Article:

Building Collapse Indicators​

April 1, 1997

Collapse indicators involving fire conditions:
  • Two or more floors fully involved
  • Continued or heavy fire
  • High heat and heavy smoke conditions coupled with inadequate ventilation

Bulging, leaning or partial wall failure. As failure occurs on the interior of a building, the failing structural members can exert an outward pressure on the exterior wall. This may show by walls bulging or leaning outward. Movement or failure of a wall may occur slowly, or quite rapidly with seemingly little or no warning. Through a combination of interior collapses and movement of structural members or due to a major interior collapse, failure of part of an exterior wall can occur.
I don't think this is talking about indicators that a total collapse might occur... How could it, since no building had ever totally collapsed from fire in 1997?

It's like after you've experienced many thunder storms, you can pick up on weather indicators that show thunder might occur. But if you've never experienced a thunder storm before, you can't possibly say what precedes it.
 

Mendel

Senior Member.
I don't think this is talking about indicators that a total collapse might occur...
I believe the danger of partial collapse is operationally the same as total collapse if you can't predict where it occurs.
How could it, since no building had ever totally collapsed from fire in 1997?
I do not believe this claim, buildings collapse from fire all the time. Examples:
Article:
01.05.2018 — Brazil fire: São Paulo building collapses in huge blaze · A 26-storey building has collapsed after being engulfed in flames in Brazil's largest ...

Building collapses in blaze - The Tribune
24.03.2022 — AN early morning fire destroyed the Bahamas Liquidation Centre building on East West Highway yesterday. ...

28.05.2021 — WATCH: Video captured a vacant Paterson building collapsing during a fierce fire that also damaged a church and home on either side.

18.02.2022 — A three-storey building has collapsed after a major fire in the Hull sector of Gatineau, Que. Firefighters began battling the blaze Friday ...

03.01.2020 — Smoke billows from a battery factory after a blaze led to the collapse of the building at Peera Garhi in New Delhi on Thursday. (Photo: PTI).

Pollokshields fire - building collapses after late night blaze in Glasgow's south side
11.11.2019 — Residents were evacuated as fire crews rushed to the scene shortly after 11.30pm last night. ... A building has collapsed following a huge blaze ...

19.01.2017 — Tehran's Plasco Building collapses after fire ... A building collapse in Tehran trapped firefighters tackling a blaze inside.

20.06.2022 — PHILADELPHIA — A building caught fire and later collapsed in Philadelphia, killing one firefighter and injuring five other people, ...
 

Mendel

Senior Member.
@Henkka your tactic of making quick unsupported (and unsupportable) claims is called "throwing shit at the wall and seeing what sticks". It comes across as an attempt to shift the burden of the discussion to the other party.

However, claims made without evidence can be dismissed without evidence. (Hitchens's Razor)
 

Thomas B

Active Member
Do we still have any open questions regarding the fire safety of building designs?
By my reckoning, they all seem adressed.
Yeah I think it's clear the thread has moved pretty far from the OP, and become "WTC 7 general". Like I'm fine with it, because imo it's interesting to discuss, but it's no longer pertinent to the OP.
I'm happy to leave the question of "unfought" fires and continue the discussion of what the "mystery" was all about on another thread.
 

Henkka

Banned
Banned
I believe the danger of partial collapse is operationally the same as total collapse if you can't predict where it occurs.

I do not believe this claim, buildings collapse from fire all the time. Examples:
Well, you know what I meant... I meant what NIST stated in their FAQ:
The collapse of WTC 7 is the first known instance of a tall building brought down primarily by uncontrolled fires.
I should've included the word "tall" there I suppose, sorry about that.
 

FatPhil

Senior Member.
Neither of the buildings "fell on" WTC 7... See the debris map drawn by FEMA I posted earlier.

The one which indicates debris fell on WTC7? Yeah, I saw that. It kinda makes my point.

See the images that @benthamitemetric followed up with in post #93 (https://www.metabunk.org/threads/di...red-in-designing-a-stucture.12482/post-272742), specifically "tower 1 collapses and debris impacts WTC7", and "WTC7 showing significant impact damage ... as a result from the impact from tower 1". And from the source linked to, in:
The whole building global collapse
model uses a resolution appropriate to understanding the effects of the
impacts caused by falling debris, the large deformations that occur as a
result of these and the subsequent propagation of failures and their
sequence across the entire building.
Content from External Source
what do you bold text refers to if not bits of WTC1 falling on WTC7?

However, given that you rejected such points when made on page 3, I suspect you'll be oblivious to them being repeated on page 4.
 

Henkka

Banned
Banned
The one which indicates debris fell on WTC7? Yeah, I saw that. It kinda makes my point.
This is silly... Literally nobody denies that debris from WTC 1 hit and damaged WTC 7. I objected to your wording when you said WTC 1 "fell on" WTC 7, because that did not happen.
 

econ41

Senior Member
However, given that you rejected such points when made on page 3, I suspect you'll be oblivious to them being repeated on page 4.
Welcome to the Club. Look at the number of times that I have clearly identified significant issues and been ignored.

I'm stubborn and will probably keep trying. ;)
 

FatPhil

Senior Member.
This is silly... Literally nobody denies that debris from WTC 1 hit and damaged WTC 7. I objected to your wording when you said WTC 1 "fell on" WTC 7, because that did not happen.

Enough to significantly structurally damage it did. And that's all I need to support my point. Your thinking is too binary. You seem to be trying to interpret what I said as "the entirety of WTC1 landed on top of WTC7", and *that* is silly, but that's only happening inside your head.
 

econ41

Senior Member
Enough to significantly structurally damage it did.
Enough to start multiple fires was sufficient if we accept NIST's opinion about the significance of structural damage. And it doesn't affect the argument either way.
And that's all I need to support my point.
Agreed.
Your thinking is too binary.
Which is probably the most common error of logic hindering CT debate. It has been a major hindrance to these recent discussions which have split into several threads favouring "binary" analysis of separate elements of what should be one, coherent, overall topic. And AFAICS none of the significant bigger picture issues is "binary". No wonder the discussions are going around in circles.
 
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Mendel

Senior Member.
It has been a major hindrance to these recent discussions which have split into several threads favouring "binary" analysis of separate elements of what should be one, coherent, overall topic. And AFAICS none of the significant bigger picture issues is "binary". No wonder the discussions are going around in circles.
The problem I see is that "bigger" discussions tend to circle through several topics, but fall short of resolving any of them. Compared to that, the more recent, very specific, clearly defined topics have had some topic drift, but largely avoided this interminable circle through the various talking points—in this thread, by keeping the discussion tied to the question whether buildings (and specifically WTC7) should be expected to survive an "unfought fire".

I think we've covered both the design aspects of this question and the actual, documented reasons why WTC7 was thought likely to collapse on 9/11/2001, in a way that we can reference if future discussions circle back to this point.

In that, I think the "thread split" was successful this time, thanks to all participants.
 
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econ41

Senior Member
The problem I see is that "bigger" discussions tend to circle through several topics, but fall short of resolving any of them.
I'm sure that I sufficiently understand the procedural realities.
Compared to that, the more recent, very specific, clearly defined topics have had some topic drift, but largely avoided this interminable circle through the various talking points—in this thread, by keeping the discussion tied to the question whether buildings (and specifically WTC7) should be expected to survive an "unfought fire".
That is the question that is still unresolved. Because the issue overall is a "can of worms" which no one wants to address for whatever reasons of personal "style". I refer to the specific issues of whether buildings (a) Should be designed to "burn out" without collapsing (b) can be designed to burn out without collapsing and several related issues that one of our members understands but denies; one other member does not comprehend and several members attempting to help have confused by their well-intentioned efforts.
I think we've covered both the design aspects of this question and the actual, documented reasons why WTC7 was thought likely to collapse on 9/11/2001, in a way that we can reference if future discussions circle back to this point.
Which point? This thread's OP raises two points:

(1)"Discussion of the definition of unfought fires..." >> Which is trivial in the original context when the topic was raised. "Unfought" referred unequivocally to the deliberate choice at WTC7 to NOT engage in "active firefighting"

AND
(2) "... and are they considered in designing a structure?" >> Which is a complex "can of worms" topic that no one other than me seems willing to discuss. There is no legitimate "binary" "yes or no" answer because of the metaphoric "can of worms".
In that, I think the "thread split" was successful this time, thanks to all participants.
From a pragmatic perspective, it has probably been as successful as we could expect. Sadly, from my perspective, the days of serious discussion of WTC collapse technicalities are long over.
 
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FatPhil

Senior Member.
Enough to start multiple fires was sufficient if we accept NIST's opinion about the significance of structural damage. And it doesn't affect the argument either way.

Losing part of the side of a building changes fires drastically. Every office fire has enough fuel - it's the oxygen that's most in demand. Tear a hole in the side of a building across multiple floors, and that's no longer a problem. (Not strictly true, as fires are a volume, and access to oxygen is an area, but by the time you've provided a free source you're on a different plane from a fire that's enclosed.)
 

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