Preface: Now that Bin Laden has been confirmed to be dead, it has been established that Saddam Hussein was not behind 9/11 (one of the main reasons for the Iraq war), and Iran has been accused of having a hand in 9/11 – potentially forming the basis for a war against Iran – it is time to revisit some important, unanswered questions.
This essay does not argue that bombs brought down the Twin Towers or World Trade Building 7, even though many top structural engineers believe that is what happened, and people could easily have planted bombs in the trade centers without anyone noticing and without the conspiracy being discovered.
It simply addresses the frequent argument that fires caused the metal to sag, which brought down the 3 buildings, and that the case is closed.
The Fires at the World Trade Centers Were NOT Very Hot
The government agency in charge of the investigation of why three buildings collapsed on 9/11 – the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) – says that paint tests indicated low steel temperatures — 480 Fahrenheit — “despite pre-collapse exposure to fire”. NIST also said that microstructure tests showed no steel reached critical (half-strength) values of 600 Celsius (1112 degrees Fahrenheit) for any significant time.
Numerous top fire protection engineers have said that the fires in the World Trade Centers were not that hot. For example:
- A mechanical engineer with 20 years experience as a Fire Protection Engineer for the U.S. Departments of Energy, Defense, and Veterans Affairs, who is a contributing Subject Matter Expert to the U.S. Department of Energy Fire Protection Engineering Functional Area Qualification Standard for Nuclear Facilities, a board member of the Northern California – Nevada Chapter of the Society of Fire Protection Engineers, currently serving as Fire Protection Engineer for the city of San Jose, California, the 10th largest city in the United States (Edward S. Munyak) says that the fires weren’t big enough to bring down Building 7:
- The former head of NIST’s Fire Science Division, who is one of the world’s leading fire science researchers and safety engineers, a Ph.D. in mechanical engineering (Dr. James Quintiere), called for an independent review of the World Trade Center collapse investigation. “I would really like to see someone else take a look at what they’ve done; both structurally and from a fire point of view. … I think the official conclusion that NIST arrived at [that fire and damage from the attacks brought down the buildings] is questionable.
In addition, Thomas Eager, a Professor of Materials Engineering and Engineering Systems at MIT and a defender of the official story, concluded that the temperatures in the Twin Towers never exceeded 800 Celsius (1472 degrees Fahrenheit). Eager pointed out that, contrary to popular belief, jet fuel from the planes did not increase the temperature of the fires.
Structural engineer Antonio Artha notes:
Fire and impact were insignificant in all three buildings.
Structural engineer Graham John Inman points out:
The fire on this building [World Trade Building 7] was small & localized therefore what is the cause?
The Argument Evaporates Upon Inspection
Defenders of the “official” version of 9/11 say, in rebuttal, that the fires didn’t have to be that hot, because – while not hot enough to melt steel – they were hot enough to cause the metal to sag.
It is irrelevant (and beyond the scope of this post) whether or not their argument is correct. Specifically, since even defenders of official story admit that the fires were not hot enough to melt steel, then it is impossible to explain the huge quantify of molten steel which was observed under Ground Zero for months after the attacks (see next section, below).
Indeed, not only was structural steel somehow melted on 9/11, but it was EVAPORATED. Specifically, as the New York Times reports, an expert stated about World Trade Center building 7:
A combination of an uncontrolled fire and the structural damage might have been able to bring the building down, some engineers said. But that would not explain steel members in the debris pile that appear to have been PARTLY EVAPORATED in extraordinarily high temperatures.
Note that evaporation means conversion from a liquid to a gas; so the steel beams in building 7 were subjected to temperatures high enough to melt and evaporate them.
It is simply impossible that fires from jet fuels and office materials could do that.
Molten Metal Under Ground Zero for MONTHS After Attacks
There was molten metal under ground zero for months after 9/11:
- The structural engineer responsible for the design of the WTC, described fires still burning and molten steel still running 21 days after the attacks (page 3)
- A structural engineer who worked for the Trade Center’s original designer saw “streams of molten metal that leaked from the hot cores and flowed down broken walls inside the foundation hole.” (pages 31-32)
- An engineer stated in the September 3, 2002 issue of The Structural Engineer, “They showed us many fascinating slides ranging from molten metal, which was still red hot weeks after the event.”
- New York firefighters recalled in a documentary film, “heat so intense they encountered rivers of molten steel.”
- A NY firefighter described molten steel flowing at ground zero, and said it was like a “foundry” or like “lava”.
- A public health advisor who arrived at Ground Zero on September 12, said that “feeling the heat” and “seeing the molten steel” there reminded him of a volcano.
- An employee of New Jersey’s Task Force One Urban Search and Rescue witnessed “Fires burn[ing and molten steel flow[ing] in the pile of ruins still settling beneath her feet.”
- The head of a team of scientists studying the potential health effects of 9/11, reported, “Fires are still actively burning and the smoke is very intense. In some pockets now being uncovered, they are finding molten steel.”
- According to a worker involved with the organizing of demolition, excavation and debris removal operations at ground zero, “Underground it was still so hot that molten metal dripped down the sides of the wall from Building 6.”
- A reporter with rare access to the debris at ground zero “descended deep below street level to areas where underground fires still burned and steel flowed in molten streams.“
- A witness said “In the first few weeks, sometimes when a worker would pull a steel beam from the wreckage, the end of the beam would be dripping molten steel”
- According to a member of New York Air National Guard’s 109th Air Wing, who was at Ground Zero from September 22 to October 6, “One fireman told us that there was still molten steel at the heart of the towers’ remains. Firemen sprayed water to cool the debris down but the heat remained intense enough at the surface to melt their boots.”
- A retired professor of physics and atmospheric science said “in mid-October when they would pull out a steel beam, the lower part would be glowing dull red, which indicates a temperature on the order of 500 to 600 °C. And we know that people were turning over pieces of concrete in December that would flash into fire–which requires about 300 °C. So the surface of the pile cooled rather rapidly, but the bulk of the pile stayed hot all the way to December.”
- A fireman stated that there were “oven” like conditions at the trade centers six weeks after 9/11.
- Firemen and hazardous materials experts also stated that, six weeks after 9/11, “There are pieces of steel being pulled out [from as far as six stories underground] that are still cherry red” and “the blaze is so ‘far beyond a normal fire’ that it is nearly impossible to draw conclusions about it based on other fires.” (pay-per-view)
- A NY Department of Sanitation spokeswoman said “for about two and a half months after the attacks, in addition to its regular duties, NYDS played a major role in debris removal – everything from molten steel beams to human remains….”
- New York mayor Rudy Giuliani said “They were standing on top of a cauldron. They were standing on top of fires 2,000 degrees that raged for a hundred days.”
- As late as five months after the attacks, in February 2002, firefighter Joe O’Toole saw a steel beam being lifted from deep underground at Ground Zero, which, he says, “was dripping from the molten steel.”
- A rescue worker “crawled through an opening and down crumpled stairwells to the subway five levels below ground. He remembers seeing in the darkness a distant, pinkish glow–molten metal dripping from a beam“
- See also witness statements at the beginning of this video.
The fact that there was molten steel under ground zero for months after 9/11 is very odd, especially since firefighters sprayed millions of gallons of water on the fires and applied high-tech fire retardants. Specifically, 4 million gallons of water were dropped on Ground Zero within the first 10 days after September 11, according to the U.S. Department of Energy’s Lawrence Berkeley National Laboratories:
The spraying continued for months afterward (the 10 day period was simply the timeframe in which the DOE was sampling). Enormous amounts of water were hosed on Ground Zero continuously, day and night:
This photograph may capture a sense of how wet the ground became due to the constant spraying:
Moreover, the fires were sprayed with thousands of gallons of high tech fire-retardants.
It was not the collapses which caused steel to melt. Specifically, a professor emeritus of physics has proven that the collapses themselves could not have melted steel. And Brent Blanchard – a recognized expert in controlled demolition – stated in a telephone interview with physicist Steven Jonesv that he has witnessed hundreds of controlled demolitions, but has never seen molten metal at any of the demolition sites.
So how does NIST explain the molten metal? It denies its existence: