Was Column 79 the Achilles' Heel of WTC7?

econ41

Senior Member
But we agree that they thought the building could collapse, right? In fact, they were worried that it might very well collapse. That's certainly my understanding.
Great. Another small step forward. BUT we have a long way to go to address the implications of "Achilles' Heel"
 

Thomas B

Active Member
I don't because I didn't use it and you didn't use it in the part I quoted. You're introducing it as distraction instead of making your claim clear.
It's like you approach discussion as chess and you're questioning something I did 10 moves back. I don't think we're going to resolve this if you won't grant that I distinguish between the resources they had immediately at their disposal (i.e., not many) and those they could have urgently devoted themselves to acquiring (e.g., in the Hudson).
 

Thomas B

Active Member
Great. Another small step forward.
I'm curious now. Can you tell me where you got the impression that I thought they thought the building couldn't collapse? If I've ever believed that, it was many, many years ago, so I'd be surprised to find I said something along those lines in this thread.
 

Gamolon

Active Member
In my view, they had neither the immediate means nor the knowledge needed to prevent the collapse.
What knowledge Thomas B?

That WTC7's column 79 would end up being your so called "Achilles' Heel"?
That thermal expansion due to fires can cause total collapse?

Is that correct?
 

Mendel

Senior Member.
Great. Another small step forward. BUT we have a long way to go to address the implications of "Achilles' Heel"
he'll say they were worried for the wrong reasons [edit: in fact, he did as I was writing this post]
It's like you approach discussion as chess and you're questioning something I did 10 moves back. I don't think we're going to resolve this if you won't grant that I distinguish between the resources they had immediately at their disposal (i.e., not many) and those they could have urgently devoted themselves to acquiring (e.g., in the Hudson).
yep, you say NO to "immediate" and YES overall. I'm not interested in "immediate", I'm interested in your YES because that is the claim that needs evidence, and that your second claim rests on.
 

Mendel

Senior Member.
It's like you approach discussion as chess and you're questioning something I did 10 moves back
it's necessary because you approach this as running in circles

people who have an actual point make that point and support it with evidence and argument
you avoid committing to your points
 

benthamitemetric

Senior Member
I'm not sure what else I can tell you other than that NIST says that before 9/11 firefighters didn't expect fires in skyscrapers to cause total progressive collapse.
NIST never said that. This is the lie at the heart of this idiotic thread. You keep taking NIST's statement that, "[t]he collapse of WTC 7 represents the first known instance of the total collapse of a tall building primarily due to fires," out of context and clinging to that misrepresentation, in true thinly-veiled truther fashion, like a dog with a bone.

In reality, the firefighters had literally just witnessed what remains the two largest fire induced progressive collapses of buildings in history and were certainly attuned to the fact that fire could cause the total progressive collapse of a building. The only difference with WTC7 was that, unbeknownst to the firefighters, WTC7's ultimate collapse would be primarily caused by the fires with the massive impact damage it sustained not likely playing a decisive role, whereas the towers' respective collapses were arguably more attributable to a combination of impact damage and fire damage (hence NIST does not count those as being primarily caused by fires).

Also, isn't it amazing that in 1991 the firefighters in One Meridian Plaza would find the risk of at least a partial fire-induced collapse so severe that they would withdraw their firefighting operations from that building?

1652964170574.png
(From FEMA's 1991 report on the fire.)

Why do you think they didn't just wait downstairs in the lobby?

The idea that urban firefighters, let alone urban firefighters standing next to the smoldering ruins of the twin towers, couldn't understand that fire could cause, whether *primarily* or *partially* or otherwise, the collapse of buildings is not only without basis but it is also an almost-unspeakably dumb inference to draw.
 
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Thomas B

Active Member
1) The FDNY had the means to extinguish the fires in WTC7
So, yes, they did have the means to get water to the site.
I've already explained that (1) doesn't state my view.

I see what you're getting wrong.

You don't get that I'm saying they didn't have the means at the WTC7 site but they did have the means to get those means (water) to the site. It was just a question of devoting scarce means to the task of getting those means.

Like I say, you have a very static, chess-like approach to discussion. So I can see why this shifting time perspective on "means" might be hard to parse. I'm not sure I can help you any more than to say: you may not have food in the fridge, i.e., means to still your hunger, but still have money in the bank, means to fill your fridge, so in that sense, slightly deferred, you do actually have the means to "still your hunger", just not immediately. (And the two occurrences of "means to still your hunger" therefore don't contradict each other since one refers to food in the fridge (or water in the hose) and the other refers to food in the store (water in the Hudson). If it's urgent, you'll devote yourself to spending your money to fill the fridge. Now, you might have even bigger problems, you might not have money. In that case, your "urgency" will be devoted to the "immediate" problem of getting a job. Etc.

Of course, once you've starved to death, like some Buridan's ass, it's neither water in the hose nor water in the Hudson but water under the bridge. I wish you well in your endeavors.
 
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Gamolon

Active Member
I'm not sure what else I can tell you other than that NIST says that before 9/11 firefighters didn't expect fires in skyscrapers to cause total progressive collapse.
This is complete baloney.

There are statements from firefighters that they were worried about the possible collapse of WTC7. What reasons were there that they thought that? Who cares if it was "progressive collapse due to fires" that eventually caused the collapse. Fire compromises structural steel integrity.
 

Thomas B

Active Member
Why do you think they didn't just wait downstairs in the lobby?
I guess we could "speculate". But why not just take this exactly for what it's worth. They were worried about local, not global collapse. And if three floors collapse somewhere up in the building, you do not want to be in the lobby.

Anyway, this is why I come here. That 1991 report really interesting. Thanks for that.
 

econ41

Senior Member
What knowledge Thomas B?

That WTC7's column 79 would end up being your so called "Achilles' Heel"?
That thermal expansion due to fires can cause total collapse?

Is that correct?
He is refusing to recognise the distinction between "Fires managed within the scope of what the building was designed for" and "Fires managed outside the scope of what the building was designed for". That distinction is pivotal to the philosophy of standards-setting and regulation. But it is looking like i"m the only p[person identifying that key issue. So no point me trying yet again to discuss the OP issues and its ambiguity about "Achilles' Heel".
 

benthamitemetric

Senior Member
I guess we could "speculate". But why not just take this exactly for what it's worth. They were worried about local, not global collapse. And if three floors collapse somewhere up in the building, you do not want to be in the lobby.

Anyway, this is why I come here. That 1991 report really interesting. Thanks for that.
Why wouldn't they want to be in the lobby if three floors somewhere way up in the building collapsed? What was the risk? It's ok, you're allowed to use the same common sense that the firefighters and anyone with half a brain would use.

And it is noted that you, true to fashion, just selectively replied to only a portion of my post so that you can spend 5 more pages pretending you don't understand the rest.
 

Mendel

Senior Member.
You don't get that I'm saying they didn't have the means at the WTC7 site but they did have the means to get those means (water) to the site. It was just a question of devoting scarce means to the task of getting those means.
Believe me, I get that.
It's expressed in my formulation of your claim 1).
And you have shown ZERO evidence to support that assertion ("It was just a question of devoting scarce means" aka "urgency").
 

Henkka

Member
that decision only pertained to that inspection group, that wasn't the command decision.

So the inspection group thought it was safe for them to be in a creaking building, and decided otherwise only when they heard a "loud noise"?
 

Gamolon

Active Member
He is refusing to recognise the distinction between "Fires managed within the scope of what the building was designed for" and "Fires managed outside the scope of what the building was designed for". That distinction is pivotal to the philosophy of standards-setting and regulation. But it is looking like i"m the only p[person identifying that key issue. So no point me trying yet again to discuss the OP issues and its ambiguity about "Achilles' Heel".

I disagree with you being the only one identifying that key issue.

I have asked what he expects engineers to do in order to determine how vulnerable a building is to EVERY possible fire scenario to determine that building safe from collapse. Which means fires managed within the scope and fires managed outside the scope.

Clearly WTC7's fire scenario was outside the scope. Thomas B thinks that whist happened in WTC7 should have been a known weakness and designed for.
 

econ41

Senior Member
I disagree with you being the only one identifying that key issue.
You're welcome. ;)
Clearly WTC7's fire scenario was outside the scope. Thomas B thinks that whist happened in WTC7 should have been a known weakness and designed for.
He will not accept the concept of what I prefer to call the "Design Envelope" i.e. the full suite of standards and conditions the building was designed to live and survive under.

That sets one "level" of design targets. the other extreme level is the reality that no building can be designed to withstand any form of deliberate attack it can be subjected to. << This means that as the level of trauma is increased a weak link will be found.

That is what happened at WTC7 and @Thomas B claims that is an "Achilles' Heel". That may be a valid interpretation of the metaphor - but it is not suitable for debating the issues of building design standards and regulations.

Then the real challenge is in the middle ground - the practicalities of regulating for the arrest of progressive collapses. WTC had none. And that is the area where standards are changing on the world stage >> i.e. the real area for discussion of "Achilles' Heels" but under a better title. We won't get that discussion in the current status with the current players. Somewhat of a pity IMO. :(

And single point vulnerabilities like Col 79 in WTC7 under "out of spec" trauma are IMO a subset of that broader topic.
 
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Henkka

Member
It looks like you are new to rational discussion of the WTC 9/11 collapses. The comments you make are established truther cant and mendaciously dishonest. The "has never happened before" is not true - it is a lie by partial truth innuendo. Remember that WTC7 was - like WTC1 and WTC2 - a steel-framed structure. More vulnerable to fire than concrete structures,

WTC1 and WTC2 were hit by planes. A logical conclusion someone could draw from their collapses is "A skyscraper hit by an airliner is in danger of collapse". You wouldn't draw the conclusion that "A skyscraper with office fires is in danger of collapse", especially when that has happened numerous times in the past with no collapse.
 

Gamolon

Active Member
I'm not sure what else I can tell you other than that NIST says that before 9/11 firefighters didn't expect fires in skyscrapers to cause total progressive collapse.
Let me ask you something.

At any time prior to 9/11, did firefighters ever come to the realization, while at the scene of a fire, that there is a possibility that the building on fire might collapse due to said fire?
 

benthamitemetric

Senior Member
WTC1 and WTC2 were hit by planes. A logical conclusion someone could draw from their collapses is "A skyscraper hit by an airliner is in danger of collapse". You wouldn't draw the conclusion that "A skyscraper with office fires is in danger of collapse", especially when that has happened numerous times in the past with no collapse.
The firefighters watched WTC1 and WTC2 survive the plane impacts and then fought the fires therein for an extended period before those buildings collapsed. The fact that the fires, and not the plane impacts themselves, were the actual proximate cause for those collapses was the most logical conclusion in the world. Like the towers, WTC7 suffered but survived massive impact damage (from huge portions of WTC1, not a plane, but the damage was evident nonetheless) and was also on fire. Assuming its fires could also ultimately cause it to collapse was the most obvious logical conclusion one could draw in the moment.
 
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econ41

Senior Member
WTC1 and WTC2 were hit by planes. A logical conclusion someone could draw from their collapses is "A skyscraper hit by an airliner is in danger of collapse". You wouldn't draw the conclusion that "A skyscraper with office fires is in danger of collapse", especially when that has happened numerous times in the past with no collapse.
If you want to discuss those issues - better in another thread. You refer to "office fires" which is truther mendacity. None of the 3 WTC Towers fires were the "office fires" the towers were designed to survive. The Twin Towers possibly more extreme than WTC7. But the WTC 7 fires were deliberately not fought, sprinklers were not effective and the fires had multiple start up points. Which put it well outside the parameters WTC7 was designed to survive.

So take care with those common lies that the Truth Movement pushes. "Office Fires" is one. "Free Fall proves CD" is another (it doesn't) then references to "in footprint" and several more.

OP a thread or find a thread and tag me and I'll outline some explanations. We are already off-topic here.
 

Mendel

Senior Member.
So the inspection group thought it was safe for them to be in a creaking building, and decided otherwise only when they heard a "loud noise"?
It feels to me like they didn't feel particularly safe to start with, and that the loud noise was the "let's get out NOW" prompt, but I'm speculating. If you really want to know, try to find the testimonies.
 

Miss VocalCord

Senior Member.
So the inspection group thought it was safe for them to be in a creaking building, and decided otherwise only when they heard a "loud noise"?
It feels to me like they didn't feel particularly safe to start with, and that the loud noise was the "let's get out NOW" prompt, but I'm speculating. If you really want to know, try to find the testimonies.

The "loud noise" was indeed the immediate reason to start evacuating the building:
As they observed the area, they heard the building creaking.
...

Also, they continued to hear creaking noises in the building.21 As the FDNY Officers continued their inspection of WTC 7, they heard a loud noise, and a Chief decided that they should evacuate the building.
page 300 (344pdf)
 

NoParty

Senior Member.
Buridan's ass...
Well, this feels about 1/2 right.

And like that donkey, I can't decide whether to praise the intrepid Metabunkers
who demonstrate nearly limitless patience to a poster who routinely agues in bad faith,
or damn them for feeding a worthless fire.
 

Henkka

Member
If you want to discuss those issues - better in another thread. You refer to "office fires" which is truther mendacity. None of the 3 WTC Towers fires were the "office fires" the towers were designed to survive. The Twin Towers possibly more extreme than WTC7. But the WTC 7 fires were deliberately not fought, sprinklers were not effective and the fires had multiple start up points. Which put it well outside the parameters WTC7 was designed to survive.

So take care with those common lies that the Truth Movement pushes. "Office Fires" is one. "Free Fall proves CD" is another (it doesn't) then references to "in footprint" and several more.

OP a thread or find a thread and tag me and I'll outline some explanations. We are already off-topic here.

Can you see it from my point of view at all, where I feel like I'm almost quoting NIST verbatim?

"The collapse of WTC 7 is the first known instance of a tall building brought down primarily by uncontrolled fires."
Source: https://www.nist.gov/world-trade-center-investigation/study-faqs/wtc-7-investigation Question #15

When an occurrence is the "first known instance" of something, that means it has never happened before. So I don't think that's a "truther" talking point.

"WTC 7 collapsed because of fires fuelled by office furnishings." -Shyam Sunder
Source: https://www.c-span.org/video/?280569-1/investigation-world-trade-center-building-7 @ 21:20

When there is a fire fuelled by office furnishings, that is an office fire. So I also don't agree that is a "truther" talking point.

But I agree this is kinda off-topic.
The firefighters watched WTC1 and WTC2 survive the plane impacts and then fought the fires therein for an extended period before those buildings collapsed. The fact that the fires, and not the plane impacts themselves, were the actual proximate cause for those collapses was the most logical conclusion in the world. Like the towers, WTC7 suffered but survived massive impact damage (from huge portions of WTC1, not a plane, but the damage was evident nonetheless) and was also on fire. Assuming its fires could also ultimately cause it to collapse was the most obvious logical conclusion one could draw in the moment.
Drawing an equivalence between the damage from the plane impacts and debris hitting WTC7 seems like a stretch to me. Correct me if I'm wrong, but I don't think any of the debris reached deep inside the building? The chunks of debris were falling mostly vertically and impacting the south face.
 

benthamitemetric

Senior Member
Drawing an equivalence between the damage from the plane impacts and debris hitting WTC7 seems like a stretch to me. Correct me if I'm wrong, but I don't think any of the debris reached deep inside the building? The chunks of debris were falling mostly vertically and impacting the south face.

I didn't draw an equivalence.; I drew a common sense comparison. By all accounts, the firefighters assessed the damage to WTC7 as severe and the fires therein as severe. To the extent this was different than the damage to the twin towers from the planes and the subsequent fires therein, it was a difference of degree, not kind. In hindsight, we can fruitlessly and needlessly speculate about what each firefighter's opinion on the likelihood of collapse was for each microsecond of the day, but their actions and words clearly show us that they put 2 and 2 together and assessed that WTC7 could potentially collapse due to the combination of the impact damage it sustained and its fires. This is contrary to the nonsensical and evidence-free assertion that they were only concerned about the structural damage it had already incurred and survived causing a collapse because they could not possibly have thought that the raging fires, like those in the towers they just watched collapse, could and would worsen such damage and cause the building to collapse, the same way the firefighters in One Meridian Plaza assessed that the fires therein could potentially cause a collapse. It is unreasonable to think that, because an exact thing has never happened before, it could never happen and that is why professionals assess situations by applying first principles, not only rigid precedent. (If it were otherwise in the case of firefighters, they could never even evaluate any fire in any building that had not already been on fire.) There is thus no tension at all between the firefighters' assessments on 9/11 and NIST's later assessment that the fires alone were likely sufficient to fell the building, even without taking the structural damage into account.
 
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Thomas B

Active Member
At any time prior to 9/11, did firefighters ever come to the realization, while at the scene of a fire, that there is a possibility that the building on fire might collapse due to said fire?
As I understand NIST, if you mean "skyscraper" when you say "building" then the answer is no. I'm very open to any evidence (from NIST or from prior cases) where they did come such a realization. Again, according to NIST, it hadn't happened before, so if any firefighters ever suspected it, their suspicions were not confirmed.

I want to be clear that I don't claim to know better than NIST. And, frankly, I don't even claim to understand NIST fully. I'm here to learn. And I do.
 

Thomas B

Active Member
And it is noted that you, true to fashion, just selectively replied to only a portion of my post so that you can spend 5 more pages pretending you don't understand the rest.
I generally respond to the parts of comments that I can make sense of. If you're wondering why I've ignored something, you might check whether you've accused me of lying or being an idiot or something like that like in or near the same breath. It's been a while since I bothered engaging with the invective that is endemic to this forum.
 

benthamitemetric

Senior Member
I generally respond to the parts of comments that I can make sense of. If you're wondering why I've ignored something, you might check whether you've accused me of lying or being an idiot or something like that like in or near the same breath. It's been a while since I bothered engaging with the invective that is endemic to this forum.

You doth protest too much, methinks. You not only directly attributed to NIST a statement they did not say (and that you must know they did not say it considering we are all reading from the exact same report in which they did not say it), you built an entire nonsensical argument around that statement that flagrantly ignores what NIST did actually say. That is lying for the purpose of trolling. Others are more circumspect in calling you out on it, but it is what it is.
 

Thomas B

Active Member
That is lying for the purpose of trolling. Others are more circumspect in calling you out on it, but it is what it is.
Right. My policy in dealing with trolls is simply not to engage with them. So I also don't engage with people who call me a troll, because I assume at some level they're not engaging either. There is no longer good faith between us, so there's no point in discussing things. Until now, I had just ignored your invective, but since you're being decent enough to declare it openly, lets just leave it there. Though you don't think I'm being sincere, I thank you for your time, such as it was.
 

Thomas B

Active Member
By the way, I'm really interested in the pushback against this "greater urgency" remark of mine. Why is it so important to debunk the idea that 9/11 changed the way firefighters approach skyscrapers? How does it make the truthers' case stronger if NIST's report had an effect on firefighters' sense of urgency about the potential for total progressive collapse?
I'm going to think about that some more. But this discussion has also raised another question, which may be the same issue, just defined a bit more narrowly:

Why is it very important to debunk the idea that firefighters did not expect fire to be able to cause the total progressive collapse of a skyscraper? How would it make the truthers' argument stronger if it were true?

That's something I may take up in another thread. But not this month, I promise.
 

Gamolon

Active Member
OK. Now I know you're not even paying attention. You are responding to a comment about the 1991 One Merridan Plaza fire.

You hold that same opinion about the firefighters knowledge of WTC7 on 9/11 right?

They weren't worried about at total/global collapse , only possible local collapses.

Correct or not?
 

Thomas B

Active Member
You hold that same opinion about the firefighters knowledge of WTC7 on 9/11 right?

They weren't worried about at total/global collapse , only possible local collapses.

Correct or not?
Like I say, you don't seem to be paying attention, so I'm not sure how useful this will be. But here goes...

1. It is clear from the NIST report that firefighters were worried that WTC7 would suffer global collapse.
2. WTC7, as we all know, did suffer global collapse.
3. 1MP did not suffer global collapse.
4. It is clear from the FEMA report that firefighters worried that "the fire damaged floors" in 1MP might collapse.

I read these four statements (which express my views) as stating different opinions about WTC7 and 1MP.

The reasons the firefighters had for fearing (local) collapses in 1MP were not the reasons firefighters had for fearing the (global) collapse of WTC7. After all, 1MP was "only" on fire. But WTC7 had also suffered a great deal of structural damage and, as you point out, was "bulging".

So, I'd say my answer to your question is: not correct.
 
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Miss VocalCord

Senior Member.
Why is it very important to debunk the idea that firefighters did not expect fire to be able to cause the total progressive collapse of a skyscraper?
For me personal I do not have the intention to debunk that idea, but also I don't think it is a statement which is true.

Reading the NIST documentation it appears to me the main reason to evacuate WTC7 was due to the sounds the building was making. This in combination/relation with the structural damage and the ongoing fires made them to decide to not fight the fires.
 

Gamolon

Active Member
Like I say, you don't seem to be paying attention, so I'm not sure how useful this will be. But here goes...

1. It is clear from the NIST report that firefighters were worried that WTC7 would suffer global collapse.
2. WTC7, as we all know, did suffer global collapse.
3. 1MP did not suffer global collapse.
4. It is clear from the FEMA report that firefighters worried that "the fire damaged floors" in 1MP might collapse.

I read these four statements (which express my views) as stating different opinions about WTC7 and 1MP.

The reasons the firefighters had for fearing (local) collapses in 1MP were not the reasons firefighters had for fearing the (global) collapse of WTC7. After all, 1MP was "only" on fire. But WTC7 had also suffered a great deal of structural damage and, as you point out, was "bulging".

So, I'd say my answer to your question is: not correct.
The firefighters feared total/global collapse of WTC7 because of the combination of structural damage it suffered from WTC1's collapse AND resultant, unfought fires?

Is that a correct statement?
 

Thomas B

Active Member
The firefighters feared total/global collapse of WTC7 because of the combination of structural damage it suffered from WTC1's collapse AND resultant, unfought fires?

Is that a correct statement?
It's not a correct statement of my view, if that's what you mean. (I may of course be wrong.) I don't think the firefighters were worried that WTC7 would collapse because of the fires. I think they let the fires burn* because they were worried that the building would collapse because of the structural damage it had suffered from WTC1.

*Edit: yes, I know they didn't have adequate resources to fight the fires, so "let the fires burn" may not be the best way to put this. But we're here just talking about their reasons for thinking it might collapse.
 
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