Richard's blog

The Third Tower - A Critical Review

The Third Tower
A Critical Examination

On July 6, 2008, BBC released a documentary examining the collapse of World Trade Center 7, on September 11, 2001. The film purported to "solve the final mystery" of 9/11 in regards to whether the collapse of the building was due to fire or controlled demolition. The film used interviews of people from both sides of the argument, as well as stock footage and reconstructions to show the viewer the cases to be made for each theory. This is the second film the BBC has created on the subject of alternative theories of 9/11.

The film is highly charged and controversial, with emotions running deep. In this review I will attempt to remove the emotional side of the film and simply look at the facts and opinions offered, their validity, and the BBC's attempt to make a "balanced" film.

Act I

The film opens with a quick introduction that thrusts the viewer into the chaos of 9/11 - the plane impacts and subsequent destruction of the World Trade Center towers that we are all familiar with. But in a rare event, the BBC finally choose to now focus their attention on the little known collapse of World Trade Center 7, almost a decade after the fact. Up until this point in time, WTC7 has largely been ignored in the media - with very small clips here and there, but never telling the whole story. In fact in its previous film, the BBC discussed WTC7 as a small side event and dismissed the controlled demolition claim purely on the word of a Popular Mechanics researcher. Now the BBC has returned and vows to do justice to the subject.

Is the NIST hypothesis supported by evidence?

With the supposed upcoming release of NIST's draft report on WTC 7's collapse, I thought it would be useful to revisit NIST's original report for WTC 1 and 2. As many of you know, NIST found that the towers collapsed from aircraft damage and fire alone and that they found no corroborating evidence for alternate theories of the collapse. What I find interesting is that the same can be said for NIST's own hypothesis - namely that no corroborating evidence was found to support its fire theory.

In order to be exact, let us restate NIST's exact fire collapse hypothesis, specifically for WTC 1:

1) Aircraft impact cause damage to the North face and several core columns were severed. Aircraft debris also dislodged fireproofing that helped speed the later collapse.

2) The jet fuel ignited a large fire that originally started on the north side of the tower and over the course of 90 min worked its way to the south side.

3) The fire temperatures seen were in excess of 800C in some places, causing weakening of the core but specifically causing the long span floor truss assemblies to sag.