- These articles were brought to my attention by a friend:
Ken at NCEpanacea@aol.com:
- 1. The NY Daily News paraphrase and interview with Bill
Manning, Editor of Fire Engineering 2. Manning's original Fire Engineering
editorial, January 2001. 3. Another Fire Engineering editorial, same issue.
- The third article affirms the plane wrecks by suicide
hijackers, affirms the collapse of the WTC by fire -- but most compelling,
observes that WTC is "[t]he first total collapse of a high-rise during
a fire in United States history."
- Ahem. Quite a landmark event. Most remarkable, given
the statements in NYDN editorial that: "The World Trade Center is
not the only lightweight, core construction high-rise in the U.S. It's
a typical method of construction."
- But the US Government (FEMA etc.) is moving rapidly to
destroy the evidence, cutting it up and selling it for scrap without serious
investigation -- eerily reminiscent of the Murrah Building (OKC) destruction
and cleanup, and of the quarantine and excavation of the site where scores
of Branch Davidians died in Waco.
- Row, row, row your boat ... truth is whatever they tell
us it is.
- Note: If you want to see on its original web page through
the URL above, I suggest you get it today. Otherwise, it may be available
only through the archives.
- From News and Views - City Beat Friday, January 04, 2002
Firefighter Mag Raps 9/11 Probe
- By Joe Calderone NY Daily News Chief of Investigations
- A respected firefighting trade magazine with ties to
the city Fire Department is calling for a "full-throttle, fully-resourced"
investigation into the collapse of the World Trade Center.
- A signed editorial in the January issue of Fire Engineering
magazine says the current investigation is "a half-baked farce."
- The piece by Bill Manning, editor of the 125-year-old
monthly that frequently publishes technical studies of major fires, also
says the steel from the site should be preserved so investigators can examine
what caused the collapse.
- "Did they throw away the locked doors from the Triangle
Shirtwaist fire? Did they throw away the gas can used at the Happy Land
social club fire? ... That's what they're doing at the World Trade Center,"
the editorial says. "The destruction and removal of evidence must
- Fire Engineering counted FDNY Deputy Chief Raymond Downey,
the department's chief structural expert, among its senior advisers. Downey
was killed in the Sept. 11 attack.
- John Jay College's fire engineering expert, Prof. Glenn
Corbett, serves as the magazine's technical editor.
- A group of engineers from the American Society of Civil
Engineers, with backing from the Federal Emergency Management Agency, has
been studying some aspects of the collapse. But Manning and others say
that probe has not looked at all aspects of the disaster and has had limited
access to documents and other evidence.
- A growing number of fire protection engineers have theorized
that "the structural damage from the planes and the explosive ignition
of jet fuel in themselves were not enough to bring down the towers,"
the editorial stated.
- A FEMA spokesman, John Czwartacki, said agency officials
had not yet seen the editorial and declined to comment.
- Norida Torriente, a spokeswoman for the American Society
of Civil Engineers, described her group's study as a "beginning"
and "not a definitive work."
- Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) has joined a group of relatives
of firefighters who died in the attack in calling for a blue-ribbon panel
to study the collapse.
- "We have to learn from incidents through investigation
to determine what types of codes should be in place and what are the best
practices for high-rise construction," Manning told the Daily News.
"The World Trade Center is not the only lightweight, core construction
high-rise in the U.S. It's a typical method of construction." ___
- "Burning Questions...Need Answers": FE's Bill
Manning Calls for Comprehensive Investigation of WTC Collapse
- FAIR LAWN, NJ, - Bill Manning, Fire Engineering's editor
in chief, is summoning members of the fire service to "A Call to Action."
In his January 2002 Editor's Opinion, "$elling Out the Investigation"
(below ), he warns that unless there is a full-blown investigation by an
independent panel established solely for that purpose, "the World
Trade Center fire and collapse will amount to paper- and computer-generated
hypotheticals." Manning explained: "Clearly, there are burning
questions that need answers .... The lessons about the buildings' design
and behavior in this extraordinary event must be learned and applied in
the real world."
- In an interview with the New York Daily News today, Manning
reiterated his call for a "full-throttle, fully resourced" investigation
into the collapse of the World Trade Center. He is asking members of the
fire service to read "WTC 'Investigation'? A Call to Action"
in the January 2002 issue of Fire Engineering and at fireengineering.com
and to contact their representatives in Congress and officials in Washington
to ask that a blue ribbon panel be convened to thoroughly investigate the
- Among those also calling for the investigation are Sally
Regenhard, the mother of Christian Regenhard, the Fire Department of New
York (FDNY) probationary firefighter killed in the World Trade Center (WTC)
attack, and founder of the Campaign for Skyscraper Safety; Give Your Voice,
a civilian relatives' group headed by Michael Cartier, who lost his brother
in the collapse; prominent structural engineers and fire-safety experts,
and New York State Senators Charles Schumer and Senator Hillary Rodham
- [Continuing text from the Fire Engineering page]
- $elling Out the Investigation By Bill Manning
- Did they throw away the locked doors from the Triangle
Shirtwaist Fire? Did they throw away the gas can used at the Happyland
Social Club Fire? Did they cast aside the pressure-regulating valves at
the Meridian Plaza Fire? Of course not. But essentially, that's what they're
doing at the World Trade Center.
- For more than three months, structural steel from the
World Trade Center has been and continues to be cut up and sold for scrap.
Crucial evidence that could answer many questions about high-rise building
design practices and performance under fire conditions is on the slow boat
to China, perhaps never to be seen again in America until you buy your
- Such destruction of evidence shows the astounding ignorance
of government officials to the value of a thorough, scientific investigation
of the largest fire-induced collapse in world history. I have combed through
our national standard for fire investigation, NFPA 921, but nowhere in
it does one find an exemption allowing the destruction of evidence for
buildings over 10 stories tall.
- Hoping beyond hope, I have called experts to ask if the
towers were the only high-rise buildings in America of lightweight, center-core
construction. No such luck. I made other calls asking if these were the
only buildings in America with light-density, sprayed-on fireproofing.
Again, no luck-they were two of thousands that fit the description.
- Comprehensive disaster investigations mean increased
safety. They mean positive change. NASA knows it. The NTSB knows it.
Does FEMA know it?
- No. Fire Engineering has good reason to believe that
the "official investigation" blessed by FEMA and run by the American
Society of Civil Engineers is a half-baked farce that may already have
been commandeered by political forces whose primary interests, to put it
mildly, lie far afield of full disclosure. Except for the marginal benefit
obtained from a three-day, visual walk-through of evidence sites conducted
by ASCE investigation committee members- described by one close source
as a "tourist trip"-no one's checking the evidence for anything.
- Maybe we should live and work in planes. That way, if
disaster strikes, we will at least be sure that a thorough investigation
will help find ways to increase safety for our survivors.
- As things now stand and if they continue in such fashion,
the investigation into the World Trade Center fire and collapse will amount
to paper- and computer-generated hypotheticals.
- However, respected members of the fire protection engineering
community are beginning to raise red flags, and a resonating theory has
emerged: The structural damage from the planes and the explosive ignition
of jet fuel in themselves were not enough to bring down the towers. Rather,
theory has it, the subsequent contents fires attacking the questionably
fireproofed lightweight trusses and load-bearing columns directly caused
the collapses in an alarmingly short time. Of course, in light of there
being no real evidence thus far produced, this could remain just unexplored
- The frequency of published and unpublished reports raising
questions about the steel fireproofing and other fire protection elements
in the buildings, as well as their design and construction, is on the rise.
The builders and owners of the World Trade Center property, the Port Authority
of New York-New Jersey, a governmental agency that operates in an accountability
vacuum beyond the reach of local fire and building codes, has denied charges
that the buildings' fire protection or construction components were substandard
but has refused to cooperate with requests for documentation supporting
- Some citizens are taking to the streets to protest the
investigation sellout. Sally Regenhard, for one, wants to know why and
how the building fell as it did upon her unfortunate son Christian, an
FDNY probationary firefighter. And so do we.
- Clearly, there are burning questions that need answers.
Based on the incident's magnitude alone, a full-throttle, fully resourced,
forensic investigation is imperative. More important, from a moral standpoint,
for the safety of present and future generations who live and work in tall
buildings-and for firefighters, always first in and last out-the lessons
about the buildings' design and behavior in this extraordinary event must
be learned and applied in the real world.
- To treat the September 11 incident any differently would
be the height of stupidity and ignorance.
- The destruction and removal of evidence must stop immediately.
- The federal government must scrap the current setup and
commission a fully resourced blue ribbon panel to conduct a clean and thorough
investigation of the fire and collapse, leaving no stones unturned.
- Firefighters, this is your call to action. Visit WTC
"Investigation"?: A Call to Action, then contact your representatives
in Congress and officials in Washington and help us correct this problem
- WTC "INVESTIGATION"?: A CALL TO ACTION
- Never again! In the wake of the World Trade Center, we
are left with many thoughts-thoughts of friends lost, thoughts of devastated
families, thoughts of the tremendous impact on so many lives for so many
years to come. Yet, we-America's fire service-are left with one critical
thought: How can we prevent a disaster like this from ever happening again?
- Yes, it was the terrorist pilots who slammed two jetliners
into the Twin Towers. It was the ensuing fire, however, that brought the
towers down. Make no mistake about it: This high-rise collapse was no
"fluke." The temperatures experienced and heat release rates
achieved at the World Trade Center could be seen in future high-rise fires.
- There are many, many questions to be asked by us about
the World Trade Center collapse and its implications on high-rise firefighting
across the nation. Some questions are political, many are technical, others
are philosophical. Here are a few (in no particular order) to think about.
- * Given the typical resources of most fire departments,
can we be expected to handle every high-rise fire thrown at us? When was
the last time your city manager asked you for a complete list of resources
that you need to fight a high-rise fire, including personnel? When was
the last time a high-rise building owner asked if you would like him to
install a special "firefighter elevator" for your exclusive use
during a high-rise fire? When was the last time a building code committee
called up a "downtown" battalion chief and asked him what he
thought of the unlimited area and height provisions found in all of the
model building codes-is it OK if we allow a 400-story building in your
battalion, Chief? The bottom line is, Can we really handle high-rise fires
adequately? Who are we kidding? Isn't this the "big secret" that
Chief Vincent Dunn has been talking about for years?
- * Beware the truss! Frank Brannigan has been admonishing
us for years about this topic. It has been reported that the World Trade
Center floors were supported by lightweight steel trusses, some in excess
of 50 feet long. Need we say more?
- * Modern sprayed-on steel "fireproofing" did
not perform well at the World Trade Center. Haven't we always been leery
about these materials? Why do many firefighters say that they would rather
fight a high-rise fire in an old building than in a modern one? Isn't it
because of the level of fire resistance provided? How much confidence do
we have in the ASTM E-119 fire resistance test, whose test criteria were
developed in the 1920s? ASTM E-119 is an antiquated test whose criteria
for fire resistance do not replicate today's fires.
- * The defend-in-place strategy was the wrong strategy
at the World Trade Center. Many of those who ignored the directions to
"stay where you are" are alive today because they self-evacuated.
Do you still use defend-in-place strategies for large high-rise fires?
When should you use them, and when should you not?
- * We can see live broadcasts from Afghanistan, but we
can't communicate via radios in many high-rise buildings. What gives?
- There are many more questions, more than we have answers
for. What is clear is that things must change. Where do we begin? By putting
things in perspective. The World Trade Center disaster was
- * The largest loss of firefighters ever at one incident.
* The second largest loss of life on American soil. * The first total collapse
of a high-rise during a fire in United States history. * The largest structural
collapse in recorded history.
- Now, with that understanding, you would think we would
have the largest fire investigation in world history. You would be wrong.
Instead, we have a series of unconnected and uncoordinated superficial
inquiries. No comprehensive "Presidential Blue Ribbon Commission."
No top-notch National Transportation Safety Board-like response. Ironically,
we will probably gain more detailed information about the destruction of
the planes than we will about the destruction of the towers. We are literally
treating the steel removed from the site like garbage, not like crucial
fire scene evidence.
- The World Trade Center disaster demands the most comprehensive
detailed investigation possible. No event in our entire fire service history
has ever come close to the magnitude of this incident.
- We, the undersigned, call on FEMA to immediately impanel
a "World Trade Center Disaster Review Panel" to coordinate a
complete review of all aspects of the World Trade Center incident.
- The panel should be charged with creating a comprehensive
report that examines a variety of topics including determining exactly
how and why the towers collapsed, critiquing the building evacuation procedures
and the means of egress, assessing the buildings' fire protection features
(steel "fireproofing," fire protection systems, etc.), and reviewing
the valiant firefighting procedures employed. In addition, the Panel should
be charged with preparing a detailed set of recommendations, including
the critical changes necessary to our building codes. Please e-mail this
(italicized) call to action to:
- President George W. Bush (firstname.lastname@example.org)
- Senator Charles Schumer (email@example.com)
- Senator Hillary Clinton (firstname.lastname@example.org)
- FEMA Director Joe M. Allbaugh (email@example.com)
- To obtain e-mail addresses for your representatives,
go to; U.S. SENATE: http://www.senate.gov/contacting/index.cfm
U.S. HOUSE: http://www.house.gov/writerep/
- Francis L. Brannigan, SFPE Glenn P. Corbett, PE Deputy
Chief (Ret.) Vincent Dunn, FDNY