The Thinking 

What Happened to WTC Building 7?

July 9, 2015


WHY did World Trade Center Building 7 collapse on 9-11? The office tower was not hit by a plane and was not engulfed in flames. It took only 6.5 seconds for the 47-story building to fall to the ground, starting at 5:20 p.m. that day. There was foreknowledge of its imminent fall by city officials.

This remains the most perplexing issue in connection with the destruction of the World Trade Center. Rethink 911, Architects and Engineers for 911 Truth, examines the official theory that it fell due to fires on various floors and presents contrary evidence that the building was deliberately detonated. To the untrained eye, it unquestionably appears as if it was demolished by explosives. According to the organization, 2,000 architects and civil engineers have signed a petition calling for an official investigation. Building 7 was never included in the 911 Commission report.

See this video on the building’s free fall:

Perhaps the most important piece of evidence that Building 7 was brought down by controlled demolition is the building’s downward acceleration at absolute free-fall, with sudden onset, for the first few seconds of its collapse.

As documented in the video footage of Building 7’s collapse, the building traveled downward at free-fall acceleration, with sudden onset, for over 100 feet, over a period of approximately 2.5 seconds, based on measurements at the northeast corner of the building. This fact of a period of absolute free-fall was acknowledged by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) in its final report on Building 7, which was issued in November 2008.1 In its draft report for public comment, in August, 2008, NIST had claimed that Building 7’s downward motion was 40 percent slower than free-fall, a statement which is blatantly untrue.2 NIST changed its characterization of Building 7’s downward motion after a high school physics teacher posted a direct measurement of the motion of the building on YouTube3 and challenged NIST’s assertions in a public comment at NIST’s technical briefing.  The measurements incontrovertibly show Building 7 undergoing absolute free-fall.

The significance of free-fall is that a building cannot undergo free-fall if it is meeting any resistance from the structure below it. Any resistance from the structure below will slow the building’s descent.

— Comments —

Joe A. writes:

Geese, Laura, now you’ve gone off the deep end.  Next you’re going to tell us “Gay Marriage” was a deliberate plot planned by Madison Avenue marketing experts or something crazy like that!

Emily writes:

Just to jump in before it becomes necessary. I PROMISE the Jews didn’t do it.

Laura writes:

I am raising questions here not offering any theory. But I promise that whoever did it, his entire race is not to blame.

Priscilla H. writes:

I can’t believe you went there. You know that the idea of a controlled demolition is simply unacceptable in polite company. Now every thing you have ever written will be discredited, your very sanity will be questioned and you will be reviled as a tinfoil hat wearing, window licking moron for even entertaining the idea of an alternative narrative. Forget narratives, you will pay for searching for the truth. Contemporary society is built on a pile of lies. Really nothing can be redeemed until the truth of recent events is exposed and confronted, but few have the courage to do that. Kudos to you.

Laura writes:

Thank you, but I think everything I have written has already been amply discredited. : – )

Fortunately, it is not illegal to question the official explanation. Again, I am raising questions here not offering any theory, and I am certainly not ruling out the official explanation, but I realize that even to question that narrative is to be a whacko. Sadly, many people do not know that a third tower fell and that it collapsed suddenly without being hit by a plane. The extreme heat of the fallen Twin Towers is a suspected factor. But that raises another question.

The events happened so fast that day that it was hard to process but even then the collapse of this building appeared as if someone had pushed a button and poof! the building was down. The collapse of the two other towers was similar in that sense, but they were obviously heavily damaged.

Rethink 911 makes an important point in its letter to New York firefighters. If a tower that is up to code and not engulfed in flames can collapse like this, how can firefighters enter any high-rise in which there are serious fires? It calls into question, at the very least, whether tall buildings with heavy steel frames that conform to the latest standards are safe. Why are our cities filled with buildings like this if they can collapse from top to bottom in seconds due to a few fires? Has this ever happened before this way?

JD writes:

The building was filled for hours with raging fires in multiple locations on multiple floors. I’m guessing that being an odd structure to begin with, built over a 1967 substation that had a foundation intended to carry only a 25 story building, with great open spaces below, contributed to its collapse.

Metal distorts, expands, bends and melts under heat. There was no water to prevent it, but there was sufficient time to evacuate the building.

These speculations seem to fascinate a lot of people. It’s hard to imagine how anyone could have so perfectly timed the full evacuation of number 7 (or why), and set off controlled explosions after the collapse of the adjacent Twin Towers, avoiding even a single casualty.

Laura writes:

Explosives certainly would have had to have been planted well in advance. It’s no mystery why the building was evacuated. The entire area was evacuated.

The way it collapsed is not, according to some engineers, consistent with a collapse from fire:

NIST’s theory is that the failure of a single column near the east end of the building caused neighboring columns to fail in a progressive manner. This is contradicted by the observed simultaneous collapse across the entire width of the building, which fell with a level roofline. A progressive collapse mechanism would have led to a progression of failures, visible deformation of the building, and gradual, asymmetrical collapse. This is what NIST’s computer model shows, but it is not what was observed. What we observed was the sudden onset of free-fall across the entire width of the building, which can only be achieved by controlled demolition.

Dr. Sunder was correct to argue that the building should have fallen slower than free-fall if it was a natural collapse. That it fell at free-fall means that it was not.

Have you ever seen the controlled demolition of a building? It’s a very distinctive thing.

Rusty writes:

I do not pretend to know what happened either but I know that the government’s explanations about Building 7 and the highjackings are hogwash, just as they were hogwash for the Oklahoma City bombing. The more I watch this government, the more willing I am to believe “conspiracy theories” about Pearl Harbor, JFK, and other such events.

J.D. writes:

I also don’t think that there is much mystery here.

Minor point: Number Seven did not literally “free-fall”, just as the twin towers did not.

My question is: why would anyone – for any reason other than the achievement of the complex and difficult goal or requirement of maximum safety and minimum damage, which takes a long time and a great deal of study, expertise and expense to properly execute – not simply fell the building like a tree, in the worst possible direction, causing the most possible damage? The whole process would be vastly more simple and quicker. That’s exactly what the professionals in the industry do whenever they have room. They don’t waste the time and money on perfection when they can simply knock it down. But, I assume that here we’re speculating about people who are up to no good? If you’re up to no good, you want the building falling everywhere BUT straight down. You want it all over and completely out of control. You don’t risk going to the extreme trouble and difficulty of collapsing a building empty of people, into a neat, perfect pile. I assume that we’re speculating about terrorist. Don’t they want to kill as many people as possible?

Don’t take me wrong, I’m simply not understanding what your point is.

Laura writes:

I have only one point to make: there is compelling evidence that Building 7 was brought down by controlled demolition. There are a great many speculations elsewhere about possible motives and perpetrators. I am only interested, in this particular entry, in the evidence that this building did not fall because of fires. There is enough evidence to warrant a full public investigation and discussion. Here is another webpage calling for an investigation. Seven facts compiled by the group Remember Building 7:

1) If fire caused Building 7 to collapse, it would be the first ever fire-induced collapse of a steel-frame high-rise.

2) Building 7’s collapse was not mentioned in the 9/11 Commission Report.

3) According to a Zogby poll in 2006, 43% of Americans did not know about Building 7.

4) It took the federal government seven years to conduct an investigation and issue a report for Building 7.

5) 1,700+ architects and engineers have signed a petition calling for a new investigation into the destruction of Building 7, specifying that it should include a full inquiry into the possible use of explosives.

6) Numerous witnesses say the possibility of demolishing Building 7 was widely discussed by emergency personnel at the scene and advocated by the building’s owner.

7) Building 7 housed several intelligence and law enforcement agencies, and the NYC Office of Emergency Management’s Emergency Operations Center, more commonly known as “Giuliani’s Bunker”.

Dean Ericson writes:

You wrote:

“…there is compelling evidence that Building 7 was brought down by controlled demolition.”

If there is I have not seen it. Compelling evidence would be multiple eyewitnesses who saw explosive technicians placing charges against hundreds or thousands of steel beams in the weeks leading up to 9/11. If these three buildings were brought down by controlled demolition it would be the largest, most complex controlled demolition in history. Such a feat would take weeks if not months for armies of demolition experts to chop holes in the drywall around each beam so as to place the charge firmly against it. Then all the charges need to be wired together. So you’ve got dozens if not hundreds of demo guys running around three enormous buildings chopping holes and running wires for weeks or months but not a single eyewitness to this, uh, slightly suspicious activity? Instead, all the “evidence” they have boils down to saying: “Well, you know, a building just can’t fall down like this.” Oh yes it can.

And then, to pile on even more outrageous and unbelievable complexity to their conspiracy theory, they manage to coordinate their demolition with airplanes hijacked by maniacs being flown into them. Why? Isn’t it enough to just blow up the buildings? “Well you see they wanted to blame it on the Muslims that’s why they arranged for Muslims devils to fly planes into the buildings while they were blowing them up!” Oh, no no no — if they were that diabolically clever they could have just as easily found a diabolically clever way to blame Muslims without making an insanely complicated plan to do so. And anyway, who are these diabolically clever and superhumanly competent Evil Masterminds? George Bush? Al Gore? It’s a joke. Even if we assume it was the Trilateral Commission in league with the Useless Nations and George Soros you’ve still got a vast conspiracy of nitwits and bumblers.

This whole “controlled demolition” business is so far beyond the limits of Occam’s razor that it can only be seen as a new chapter in MacKay’s book, “Extraordinary Popular Delusions and the Madness of Crowds.” I’m sorry to be so blunt, but I love The Thinking Housewife and don’t want to see her associated with this nonsense.

Laura writes:

Thank you for your concern. I appreciate your bluntness.

I honestly hope you are right. I certainly don’t relish the idea that there could be any other explanation for why this building fell. I wonder what reaction you have to the concerns of architects and engineers. It’s true, they might all be kooks.

Mr. Ericson writes:

“I wonder what reaction you have to the concerns of architects and engineers. It’s true, they might all be kooks.”

Let’s say in the USA there’s, oh, maybe a quarter million or so professionals who could qualify as engineers and/or architects. To find 1700 of this group, or less than 1%, who entertain such a conspiracy would be no great feat when you consider the strange appeal these theories hold for so many. Think of the vast waste of mental energy expended by so many “experts” flogging weirdly complex Kennedy assassination conspiracies for so long when finally it had to be admitted it was the lone leftist loon who dunnit. Think of the army of pedigreed geniuses flogging the global warming hysteria. And recall how many smart and well-educated people believe the patent nonsense of “gay marriage”. The “controlled demolition” conspiracy is nonsense simply on the face of it, regardless of how many experts weigh in to the contrary, absent any genuine and compelling evidence.

Laura, you are sometimes too credulous. Good-hearted as you are there’s a reluctance to immediately suspect lies, folly, and malice in others. I thought that when I saw you persuaded by that accomplice of the thug who was shot by the cop in Ferguson — I mean that dreadlock kid who helped the Gentle Giant steal cigars at the Qwik Stop. He had this sob story about how the cop just up and shot Robbery Boy for no reason at all, honest, and you said his story seemed believable. Me, cynical and cold-hearted wretch as I am, immediately knew beyond any reasonable doubt he was lying, for a bunch of reasons, and the subsequent verdict vindicated that view.

All this is not to say I don’t believe there’s a conspiracy. I do. But it’s the same old, indeed ancient, one involving “principalities and powers”. Ol’Scratch is out to get us, and that’s one conspiracy, and the only one, you can depend upon.

Laura writes:

Thank you for believing I am good-hearted and credulous!

I would rather be those things than prone to reflexive suspicion. Isn’t that the ugly and annoying thing about “conspiracy theorists?” They are so suspicious.

However, your point does conflict with what I am doing here, which is questioning the official story. If I were simply good-hearted and credulous, I would not question it at all. And I agree, of course, that those “principalities and powers” are the real threat. But they take human form and they are exceedingly clever. We must never under-rate their cleverness.

Giving some credibility to Dorian Johnson, Michael Brown’s friend, as I did in those early interviews, is a little different from pondering these reasonable arguments from architects and engineers. After all, these arguments are based on evidence and years of reflection. My comments about Dorian Johnson were an initial impression which I did not hold on to after further facts came to light.

You write:

To find 1700 of this group, or less than 1%, who entertain such a conspiracy would be no great feat when you consider the strange appeal these theories hold for so many.

I guess so, but we must remember that they are attaching their names to these doubts and would have something to lose if their theories were so disreputable among the larger community of architects and engineers as to be inane.

May I ask what would motivate this group of people to go after these questions? What personal gain would be at stake? I guess you would say it’s just the thrill of conspiracy. And that’s definitely a possibility.

You write in your earlier comment:

If these three buildings were brought down by controlled demolition it would be the largest, most complex controlled demolition in history. Such a feat would take weeks if not months for armies of demolition experts to chop holes in the drywall around each beam so as to place the charge firmly against it. Then all the charges need to be wired together. So you’ve got dozens if not hundreds of demo guys running around three enormous buildings chopping holes and running wires for weeks or months but not a single eyewitness to this, uh, slightly suspicious activity?

Okay, I admit, I am not a demolition expert. But couldn’t, say, ten people working at night over several weeks, posing as janitors, wire such a building with powerful explosives? A building like that is empty at 2 a.m.

Doug E. writes:

The building was on fire. So the collapse through structural weakening is the best explanation.

Laura writes:

I do not understand why it collapsed in the symmetrical way it did. When a building is weakened by fire, usually the part most affected by fire sags and collapses, pulling the rest with it. Building 7 just all went down together.

There’s no question the building was on fire. That video does not show a building fully engulfed in flames. It just doesn’t.

There have been other serious high-rise fires before. Do you know of anything comparable?

Laura adds:

The 38-story One Meridien Plaza building in Philadelphia experienced a raging fire in 1991, started by ignited linseed oil. A full eight floors of the building were destroyed and the fire was out of control for more than a day! It did not collapse.

Doug E. writes:

Here’s a graphic that shows that the strength of steel rapidly declines between 400 C (752 F) and 700 C (1292 F).

As you see, the strength of steel declines rapidly with increased temperature. Being that the fire in Building 7 was allowed by circumstance, the collapse of WT 1& 2, to burn without suppression for many hours, its collapse is understandable in terms of loss of physical integrity. Some engineering 101. Hope this helps.

Laura writes:

Yes, I can see how the fact that it was not being suppressed at all would make a difference.

Laura adds:

But then why did it fall the way it fell? Don’t you see? It did not collapse progressively.

Joe A. writes:

Mr. Ericson has no more insight nor idea why Building 7 fell to the ground than you or me.  His confident assertion is built on a chain of assumptions –  assumptions of fact, assumptions of credibility, assumptions of incompetence, assumptions of normal probability distributions – that at day’s end, he believes whatever he was inclined to believe in the first place.

This is to say, he wasn’t there and should not speak with authority.  Everything he thinks he “knows” comes from secondary, tertiary, even quaternary sources he simply chooses to believe but which have no actual evidence he or anyone else can judge for themselves.

It is an article of faith.  A great mystery.

On the other hand, in certain professions– public accountants, police detectives, news reporters, historians – there is the concept of professional skepticism that assumes everyone is lying to you and you must build your case only on provable facts.  I believe the “scientific method” uses a similar approach.

So let’s start with the fact that the story of WTC 7 is peculiar.  In my fifty years on this planet, I’ve never read another news report of a tall building collapsing short of an earthquake and those in the Third World.  Yet on September 11, 2001 we had three of them collapse within minutes, even as tall  buildings on adjoining properties remained curiously undamaged.

Now Mr. Ericson chooses to believe the Party Line on these coincidences. Perhaps it is true. The probability distribution of the chain of events suggests it may be a bizarre statistical fluke but caused by the apparent circumstances just the same.

But that is an assumption. A guess. Perhaps it is also mere capitulation to political correctness more than demonstrable mechanical reality.

Why? Because the instinct to go along with the herd is stronger than the instinct to stand apart from it.  At least with many of our species but by no means all of us.

Count my vote as “not proven” a la Scottish Law.

Paul T. writes:

With respect, I think Dean Ericson carried out a very efficient ‘controlled demolition’ of much of the thinking of the 9/11 conspiracists. You said you could see that some might be lured by ‘the thrill of conspiracy’. It’s not  the thrill of conspiracy. It’s the desire to be more ‘in the know’ than the ‘sheeple’, those millions of poor dumb slobs who Can’t Face the Truth. It’s pride, in short. (As Prof. Harold Hill might have said, Truth “with a capital T and that rhymes with P and that stands for Pride”).

Not long ago I was talking to a Truther who said, “The official story can’t be true because it flies directly in the face of the Second Law of Thermodynamics. Any highschool student knows as much.” I said, “Then you’ve just demolished your own theory. Because if I had all the resources of the US (and what the heck, Israeli) government at my disposal, and any number of possible approaches to creating panic and disaster, I certainly wouldn’t choose the plan so dumb that any high school student would know it’s impossible. I’d put that one at the bottom of the pile and ask my advisers witheringly, “Is that the best you can come up with?” But a commonsense objection like that merely evokes the Truther response, “Aha! don’t you see? that’s the diabolical genius of it! That’s just what They want you to think!” Really, at some point there is just no arguing with these people. The other point I made is that no conceivable reward could accrue to the US or Israeli governments from such an attack that could not be gained by much less risky means. If the idea was to invade Iraq (“and steal its oil!” – don’t think that ever happened, though, shucks), this could be done without killing thousands of one’s own citizens. By, oh, just for example, accepting the fantasies supplied by self-interested Iraqi informants about Saddam’s WMD threat. Which is basically what happened.

Just by the by, I recall reading that much of the best science of Thomas Edison’s day showed that the invention of a reliable, economical incandescent light bulb was impossible. However,  Edison was self-taught and his scientific education was spotty. If he had been better educated, he would not have wasted his time setting out to do what the experts had agreed was impossible. But, being mostly ignorant, he muddled on and eventually the theories had to be adjusted to explain the reality of the Edison bulb.

Laura writes:

If Thomas Edison had believed it was arrogant and elitist to seek physical explanations for physical events, he never would have invented anything. Mr. Edison was, after all, a scientist. As to the psychological motives involved, they are not at issue here. The question is: was Building 7 demolished by explosives? Mr. Ericson did not offer any plausible explanation for why it collapsed the way it did — symmetrically with the roof line intact.  I’m not really interested in motives or your annoying Mr. Truther, who seems like a caricature to me. I am interested in knowing why this building collapsed suddenly, quickly and neatly. You have not offered a single reason why it fell the way it did less than 12 hours after the towers were hit or an example of a comparable collapse anywhere in the world.

 Laura adds:

Getting back to Doug E.’s point about heat, I just want to reiterate my question. If the steel was melting, you would think some of the building would have been visibly sagging or leaning before the whole thing went into that astounding free fall. Isn’t that Engineering 101? I don’t think any photos have been produced which show that happening.

This is such an obvious and commonsensical concern.

Eric writes:

I was gonna stay out of this, but … fools rush in.

IF you insist on controlled demolition (I do not) [Laura writes: Neither do I.] THEN there is one controlled demolition theory that, in my opinion, makes more sense (or less nonsense) than all the others.

Recall the first attack on the Trade Center, the car bomb attack in 1993. The attacker’s goal was to topple building onto an adjacent building and just sort of domino them all the way down the length of Manhattan Island. He very nearly brought down one of the Trade Center buildings, which may have brought other buildings down as well.

One rational response by the authorities was to equip the buildings to be scuttled in advance. Large buildings come with demolition plans; they are drawn up by the same architects who design them. If the building was attacked, it could be destroyed deliberately by authorities to prevent its use as an asset by any attacker. Such preparations would be made with the deepest secrecy.

Any naval officer or military pilot knows that he may be called upon to destroy his ship or plane to prevent the enemy from getting it. The German Navy sunk dozens of their own ships in Scapa Flow in the waning days of the First World War; the French fleet was scuttled in 1942 to prevent it’s capture by the Nazis.

I think that if we are forced to conclude that a controlled demolition brought down those buildings (I am not convinced at all), then the most logical hypothesis is that United States security personnel were involved.

Regardless of what happened to the buildings, it would not surprise me to discover that commercial aircraft have been equipped to enable remote destruction from the ground in the days since 9/11.

Laura writes:

“To prevent its use as an asset by the attacker…”

I don’t understand that.

Doug E. writes:

You wrote: “If the steel was melting, you would think some of the building would have been visibly sagging or leaning before the whole thing went into that astounding free fall. Isn’t that Engineering 101? I don’t think any photos have been produced which show that happening.”

I would think you would be hard pressed to be able to produce all of the video of Building #7 on 9/11/01.  For Engineering 101: steel  has a “plastic range” between 400 C – 700 C. Which means that it becomes more “liquid” and weaker at higher temperatures(think pasta @  0 and time = 2 minutes, 6 minutes in boiling water).

I suppose my biggest irritation in this matter is the utter ignorance of basic physics. F= MA rules this world.  If you blow out story 7 of 30, 23 are crashing the the earth.

Laura writes:

I think you are mistaking Building 7 with the Twin Towers. There was no floor “blown out” in Building 7. It was not hit by a plane. Eight floors were destroyed by fire in One Meridien Plaza. It did not collapse.

As far as the videos of Building 7’s collapse, they are full frontal views. And what we see is a uniform, sudden, symmetrical collapse.

Gerard Van der Leun writes:

I am a long time reader of The Thinking Housewife and a long time writer at

I am also, from Brooklyn Heights (about 1/2 mile away and up several hundred feet from the water), an eyewitness to the destruction of the towers. An *eyewitness* from the second plane’s impact and  the fall of the towers, and for many months thereafter in NYC and at the pile. I did not see these events on television, but first hand. I have felt the smoke cover me and seen the flakes of what went into the fire settle on my skin.

If you want more detail on this please see “What I Saw: Notes Made on September 11, 2001 from Brooklyn Heights;” “The Wind in the Heights;” and The Missing.

With that established I could begin and go on for pages about the whole WTC “conspiracy”  but I will instead refer you to Bill Whittle, a man you must surely know from Eject Eject and many speeches and essays in the conservative vein.

Please see his comments in this video from The Stratosphere Lounge from mid June.

Please go to 2:07:30  and listen to what he has to say about all of this and about WTC7 in particular.

This man knows what he is talking about and, as I indicated above, I was an eyewitness on the day and after at The Pile and at many funerals during that time beginning with the funeral of Father Mychal Judge. 

Remember then,  in passing, what Abraham Lincoln said:

“The dogmas of the quiet past, are inadequate to the stormy present. The occasion is piled high with difficulty, and we must rise — with the occasion. As our case is new, so we must think anew, and act anew. We must disenthrall ourselves, and then we shall save our country.”


Laura writes:

Thank you for writing.

I just want to repeat that I have only raised the issue of the collapse of Building 7 here. I have not endorsed “this whole WTC conspiracy thing,” whatever that is.

 Paul C. writes:

I am sure Emily is accurate that the Jews didn’t do it, but at least one now deceased moron would disagree. Professor Derbyshire is not the moron. (My hyperlinking isn’t working.)  Read it and split a gut.

Taking down a building requires a high degree of skill and preparation, so I don’t buy any idea that the fanatics had such skill or any opportunity.  But the engineering scenario deserves investigation; likely contributing factors were faulty design, construction, and materials.  I suggest interviewing the Indian (and other) ironworkers.  They might have seen something amiss.  But I doubt they would have failed to express objections.  The architectural firm and its bonder will fight this, but the statute of limitations might have run out.

Mr. Ericson writes:

The Thinking Housewife wrote:

“I am interested in knowing why this building collapsed suddenly, quickly and neatly. “

Here is a link to a Popular Mechanics article summarizing a report on the collapse by investigators for the National Institute of Standards and Technology.


“The final report describes how debris from the collapse of WTC 1 ignited fires on at least 10 floors of WTC 7 at the western half of the south face. Fires on Floors 7 through 9 and 11 through 13 burned out of control, because the water supply to the automatic sprinkler system had failed. The primary and backup water supply to the sprinkler systems for the lower floors relied on the city’s water supply. Those water lines were damaged by the collapse of WTC 1 and 2. These uncontrolled fires in WTC 7 eventually spread to the northeast part of the building, where the collapse began.”

The report goes into quite a bit of detail on the mechanics of the collapse. It also considers the possibility of crackpots blowing up the building and concludes: “Hypothetical blast events did not play a role in the collapse of WTC 7,” the report states, adding that investigators “found no evidence whose explanation required invocation of a blast event.” Moreover, the smallest charge capable of initiating column failure “would have resulted in a sound level of 130 dB [decibels] to 140 dB at a distance of at least half a mile.” Witnesses did not report hearing such a loud noise, nor is one audible on recordings of the collapse.”

But no doubt the Joe A.s of the world will scoff at this report since it was put out by yet another tentacle of the conspiracy and published by Popular Mechanics, whose staff are all on the payroll of the New World Order. And how does anyone know that I’m not yet another diabolical cutout for the Conspiracy? Hmmm? Well, I’ll let you all in on a little secret, how we actually brought the buildings down: it was… gophers! Now don’t tell a soul.

Laura writes:

Thank you.

Joe A. said he was not convinced that the official explanation is wrong so I would think he would not scoff at any arguments to that effect. By the way, if anyone blew up the building they certainly weren’t “crackpots” as it would have required a lot of skill.

The fact that there was no water supply to the building is a persuasive argument for why it was utterly destroyed. The way it fell is strange. High-rise buildings are obviously much more dangerous than they are assumed to be. I realize they all have sprinkler systems. But this would show that if a sprinkler system failed, an entire building could collapse completely after six hours or so of uncontrolled fires on a few floors. If our cities are ever bombed, God forbid, we will be surrounded by collapsing skyscrapers.

P. writes:

There is a published report (which I can’t find at the moment) that attributes the failure to the fact that the basement of WTC 7 had a large diesel tank and emergency generator and that the diesel was set aflame by debris from the towers. After burning for more than 5 hours the structural steel reached its hot-short temp (a bit over 750C) and failed by buckling. After that momentum would take care of the rest.

I remember claims that that the twin towers fell at free-fall acceleration but this was belied by the pictures of the actual collapse. I suspect the newest WTC7 agitprop is not much different.

If you fall for such simple propaganda how can I trust your opinion on our fake pope?

Laura writes:

And how do I know you’re not an agent for Al Qaeda or the CIA? Seriously, let’s stick with reason and the evidence, and leave aside the cheap and unconvincing ad hominem attacks. I did not produce “simple propaganda” nor have you persuaded me that you have found anything but simple arguments in response. Not that simple arguments are therefore wrong.

The diesel in the basement was ignited? Okay. You would think there would be some photo that showed Building 7 “buckled.” We wouldn’t be discussing this if there were.

As for the “pope,” I wouldn’t trust my opinion. I would trust Catholic dogma, based on Scripture, the Magisterium and the teachings of the true popes. A non-Catholic pope is an obvious absurdity.

Alex writes:

There is a video of Larry Silverstein, leaseholder of Building 7, saying that in communication with the NYFD they could not control the fires in the building and that the only thing to do was to “pull it.”  “Pull it” would be a controlled detonation of demolition devices to bring the building down, minimizing collateral damage.  There is also video of a demolition expert, Danny Jowenko, saying the cause of this collapse is definitely a controlled demolition.  For what it’s worth, your bringing this up makes me appreciate your blog even more.

Laura writes:

Thank you. That is kind of you to say.

I am aware of reports that Mr. Silverstein at one point said the building would be “pulled.”

However, I personally have not studied this issue of his statements, whether the reports are reliable or not. Not that my opinion on it matters, but I am not prepared to comment on that.

I will say, that if for some reason, the authorities decided to demolish the building and somehow had the capacity to do that, why hasn’t the public been told that that was what happened? It would be entirely understandable if for safety reasons, the fire department or the city had decided it should be instantly demolished. But why not tell us that? We wouldn’t be here discussing this if city officials had simply said, “The building had to be brought down. It was too risky,” and then explained how exactly it was done so quickly.

Mr. Ericson writes:

Joe A.’s comment above is a perfect example of the sophistry upon which the entire Truther movement is based. “Sophistry” in the sense of arguments with a deceptive veneer of reason over a solid core of falsity for the purpose of misleading the unwary. First, he attempts to undermine my common sense view of the matter by saying I wasn’t there and so it’s simply an article of faith and no more valid than anyone else’s belief. As if there was any equivalent likelihood between, on the one hand, an ordinary cause such as fire that brought the building down, and on the other hand, a stupendously complex conspiracy involving hundreds, if not thousands of people, with armies of demolition experts chopping holes, placing charges, and running miles of wire up and down skyscrapers all completely unnoticed by anyone and without a shred of physical evidence or corroborating eyewitness accounts. The two views are equal and one may be believed as well as the other, according to Joe.

Then Joe says, “On the other hand, in certain professions– public accountants, police detectives, news reporters, historians – there is the concept of professional skepticism that assumes everyone is lying to you and you must build your case only on provable facts. I believe the “scientific method” uses a similar approach.” Okay, so what provable facts does Joe go on to cite? Do we get bomb parts recovered from the rubble? Do we get eyewitness accounts of the furtive army laying explosive charges or even confessions from some of the hundreds of participants in the vast conspiracy along with compelling evidence? No! Instead we get this lame mush from Joe: “So let’s start with the fact that the story of WTC 7 is peculiar.” Oh my, that is simply the most devastating provable fact I’ve ever heard! So Joe, just who is giving a better demonstration of your “professional skepticism” here, me or you?

The rest of his piece is a fog of insinuation, diversion, and blather. That’s all they have — “isn’t this a bit odd? — isn’t this peculiar, and is it just a coincidence that…?” There is no there there. I think Paul T., above, offers a plausible explanation for part of this behavior: “It’s the desire to be more ‘in the know’ than the ‘sheeple’, those millions of poor dumb slobs who Can’t Face the Truth.” And this is confirmed by Joe when Joe says, in speculating why dupes like me follow the “party line” — quoting Joe now; “Why? Because the instinct to go along with the herd is stronger than the instinct to stand apart from it. At least with many of our species but by no means all of us.”

So anyone who thinks the buildings fell from obvious causes is a low level dope, while anyone who thinks the buildings fell from impossible causes is a rarified genius. That’s just genius! I’ve taken a moment to pound on this idiocy because it’s not only regarding 9/11 you find this nonsense, this sophistry, but it permeates every argument we’re having these days, from the claim that two men may marry to the claim that people may be killed if they are in a womb and on and on. It comes from the idea that there there IS NO TRUTH. And that comes from the idea that there IS NO GOD. When you don’t believe in the existence of God you cannot believe in the existence of truth and then anything can be whatever you want it to be. The left — here’s a conspiracy for you! — the evil left and their army of useful idiot liberals has orchestrated a controlled demolition of the public mind by filling it with a toxic cloud of nonsensical blather, doubt, ambiguity, contradiction, and in-your-face lies so as to demoralize and divide us from God so they can puff themselves up with worldly power while crushing the life out of the people for fun and profit. And to send souls to hell. There, I think that just about sums up the real conspiracy, wouldn’t you say?

Laura writes:

Joe A. did not suggest that anyone who believed the buildings fell from fire was a “low-level dope.” Nevertheless, it’s true he did say that such a person might lack the courage to stand apart from the herd.

So let’s hold our horses here.

I will take no more comments that suggest anyone is arrogant or sheep-like or a dupe to propaganda. Let’s focus on the evidence. Let’s focus on the issue of whether there’s enough controversy here to justify a full public investigation.

I do not think, by the way, that the evidence suggesting the building fell in a controlled demolition is an attack on truth itself! Heavens to Betsy, that’s ridiculous. To deny any critical inquiry would be an attack on truth itself, but to pose reasonable questions based purely on the physical event is hardly a wild-eyed thing to do or something that threatens objectivity itself. Just look at the video, which many of us saw on that day.

I definitely challenge Mr. Ericson’s assertion that it would require an army of demolition experts to rig the building, given the range of powerful explosives available, but maybe that is true. I don’t know enough to say. If the building could be brought down by fire on a few floors or in the basement, why would it take explosives planted by thousands of demolition experts to destroy it? That’s a bit of a contradiction, don’t you think?

But there was apparently not the overwhelming noise that Doug says was necessary.

Mr. Ericson writes:

Laura wrote:

“I do not think, by the way, that the evidence suggesting the building fell in a controlled demolition is an attack on truth itself!”

Well there’s the nub of it; just what evidence is there that the building fell in a controlled demolition? “Because it looks like it” isn’t evidence. Let’s see some solid evidence. I haven’t seen any and to my knowledge nobody has presented any. This whole demolition proposal is floating on a bubble of theories, suspicions, and speculation. Look into it? But they did. NIST issued a report. Unless someone can present real evidence to the contrary I see no reason to think fire wasn’t the cause and therefore no reason to open another inquiry.

As an example of the speciousness of these speculations, consider the comment from Alex, above, who writes, “There is a video of Larry Silverstein, leaseholder of Building 7, saying that in communication with the NYFD they could not control the fires in the building and that the only thing to do was to “pull it.” “Pull it” would be a controlled detonation of demolition devices to bring the building down, minimizing collateral damage.”

Okay, so let me get this straight, the Fire Department, which has just suffered the loss of over three hundred men in an overwhelming catastrophe, yet has the wherewithal to send in a team of demolition experts into a burning building to mosey about laying charges — and you can well imagine there’s legions of explosives experts available on short notice to run into burning buildings while carrying high explosives — never mind — in an exceedingly risky gamble they lay their charges without getting burned or blown up in the process and and manage to bring the building down. The question then is, why? What terrible consequence would justify sending men into almost certain death in order to… to what? The area was evacuated there weren’t any people around to get hurt if the thing was simply allowed to fall. And then why wouldn’t they say they had done so for the following good reasons, x, y, and z? Let’s say the reason they blew it up was that if the building was allowed to burn it might start surrounding buildings on fire which they were not able to fight. Fine, why not say that? Why try to cover it up? And how could it possibly be covered up when every one of the A Team members who went into the burning building planting explosives would show up on Tv bragging about what they did and scrambling to be the first to get their book and movie out. It strains credulity. And that’s putting it politely.

Mr Ericson continues:

Having said all that I finally have to admit that yes, I do think 9/11 was an inside job. Seriously. How did the 19 Muslim hijackers get into the country? Did they invade on camels secreted inside a cargo container of dates? Nosiree Bob! — we let them into the country! This dangerous ancient enemy, whose founder commanded his followers to wage jihad against the infidel until all were subdued, whose bloody-minded founder practiced what he preached, whose adherents compiled a 1,400-year record of bloodshed, conquest, slavery and rapine, we, in our infinite malice and stupidity, we let them into the country! It is our misguided, venal, and suicidal policy of leftist multiculturalism that is the direct cause of 9-11. An inside job, indeed. And the leftists and their useful idiot fellow travelers like George Bush (Islam is a religion of peace!) are to blame. That’s why they had to double down on the multiculti bet after the fact. If they’d up and said, sorry, that was a mistake, the people rightly would have taken them out and hung the rat bastids for treason (after a swift yet fair trial, of course). Who needs controlled demolitions when you have the far more devastating destruction caused by leftists and liberals.

Laura writes:

Well, we always need the truth. And justice must be served.

Regarding your first point, it’s just not true that no evidence has been presented. That’s simply not true. We know the building fell, what it looked like when it was falling (although possibly not from every angle), and how long it took for it to fall from documented evidence, not just photos and videos but from witness testimony. In fact, the evidence is extremely compelling. See the Architects and Engineers site. No one who is alive saw Mohammad Atta at the controls of a plane for that matter yet we have reason to believe that he was.

As for the scenario of a demolition by the city, I agree with you. How could it possibly have been arranged that easily? It just seems implausible. But then were there statements made by city officials that the building was going to come down, and if so why, and did Mr. Silverstein say it was going to be “pulled?” Shouldn’t all this have been included in the 9-11 Commission report so that we could be at peace? And since it wasn’t, and since everyone here believes in the importance of objective evidence and investigation, it seems that the logical thing to do is for a public investigation to occur. That’s the great thing about America. It’s not illegal to study and investigate controversial matters.

J.D. writes:

This ongoing and surprising discussion has me wondering if someone might be coming down with a case of batophobia, which isn’t completely irrational. Engineers are not gods.

I asked, and still don’t understand, and no one has speculated, why any person or entity would go to the expense, risk and trouble of executing a vastly more difficult and challenging controlled demolition if death and destruction was their purpose. Or, is it that some evil or nefarious entity – in our government or their government or whichever terrorist group – has had an unexplainable, deranged, yet strategic fixation on this particular building; the building itself, as a building; along with an equally strong and unexplainable repugnance of collateral damage?

Laura writes:

Many empty buildings have been destroyed in insurance scams. But that is quite inconceivable in this case.

Steve H. writes:

I saw a show several months ago that interviewed a plethora of engineers on the collapse of Building 7. There was no hint of political spin by those interviewed. To a man, they agreed that the heat generated from that fire could have never caused that type of collapse. They said that the fire could have burned as it was almost indefinitely and not produced the heat necessary to cause that steel structure to collapse in that manner. Furthermore, several said the same regarding the Twin Towers. Many people quickly assume that the jet fuel caused this super hot inferno. Not true, they said, because that jet fuel had burned up so quickly that all that was left was a typical commercial structure fire.

Anyway, something is not right about the way those structures, all three of them, collapsed. Keep up the good work!

Laura writes:

Thank you.

Priscilla H. writes:

To J.D.’s question as to why any entity would execute a controlled demolition if that entity’s purpose was death or destruction:  the purpose of terror is terror and death and destruction are the means to an end, not necessarily the end itself.  As long as the goal of terror is achieved, the body count is irrelevant.  Regarding a fixation on this particular building, WTC 7 had some interesting tenants, as previously mentioned.  These included IRS Regional Council, U.S. Secret Service, C.I.A., Securities and Exchange Commission and Mayor’s Office of Emergency Management. These are just facts I’m mentioning since the questions were asked.

Laura writes:

Great points.

Anita Kern writes from Toronto:

I just went through the whole list of comments about WTC 7, and it was most interesting.

I have to say, although I have watched quite a few of Bill Whittle’s pieces on his Afterburner, I didn’t know about his Stratolounge items,  and as per reference in the comments by your eminent contributor Gerard Van der Leun, I watched the segment he mentioned at 2:07:30 on Stratolounge 98…. where Bill Whittle expounds on WTC 7 and actually gets quite mad about the “stupid, stupid” people, etc.

So thanks again for providing yet another good link to interesting material.

Of course personally I never believed in any ‘inside’ job.

Keep up the good work! :-)

Laura writes:

Thank you.

I have not seen that particular Bill Whittle segment yet, but anyone who just dismisses these questions as stupid makes me wonder.

Bert Perry writes:

I’m not a civil engineer, but what I notice on looking up WTC 7 is that it had a central core and peripheral structure, just like the Twin Towers, and the whole thing was bound together around the 5th floor to have the small foundation support it all. So if one part of the frame goes, the whole thing goes–much like the entire bridge across the Mississippi collapsed in Minneapolis just about instantaneously when a single gusset plate went. It’s a single point of failure construction that is rightly strongly discouraged now, if not outright banned. And once you start hammering that frame with the entire weight of the building, it will fall darned close to free-fall–the stresses are just too big for it to do otherwise.

Also, what I’ve read indicates that because the Port Authority owned and built it, it was not subject to the ordinary standards of workmanship and fire protection that would apply to privately owned buildings like the Sears/Willis Tower in Chicago or the Empire State Building. Hence it was uniquely vulnerable.

Lesson Learned; don’t let government build giant targets for terrorists. Something we can all agree on…..

Laura writes:


I wonder if the Architects and Engineers site addresses that issue. I also wonder how a building could be held together at one point like that. Pretty scary idea.

Joe A. writes:

Oh my!

I thought I was commenting on the mysterious fall of WTC 7 … not “Equality.”

My bad.  I deserve the character assassination and subsequent pile on.  It’s just punishment for wrongthink.

Priscilla writes:

To Joe A.:

Ask the wrong question, Joe, and it always goes ad hominen. Like Bill Whittle, they may want to hit you in the head with a tire tool, then out comes the armchair psychoanalysis. They never ask what kind of person uncritically believes everything he sees and hears on TV, cause dollars to donuts that person has never done any research of the subject on his own. Just stop asking all those darn questions, the science is settled!

Guilain writes:

Here is a video of the collapse of WTC 7. We can see that a few seconds before the total collapse of the building, a penthouse located on the left part of the roof collapses. It suggests a failure of the structure on this side of the building (see also the windows breaking on this side). It is only a few seconds later that the whole building collapses. This does not seem consistent with a controlled demolition. But then I’m no expert, and I’ve not studied extensively the question.

I don’t know if it is true, but I’ve read that Richard Gage ignores the collapse of the penthouse.

J.D. writes:

“Great points”?

Nothing that Priscilla H. “points” out addresses my simple question: “Why…go to the expense, risk and trouble of executing a vastly more difficult and challenging controlled demolition…”, when a simple felling accomplishes everything and more? What’s the point?

Priscilla H writes: “The purpose of terror is terror and death and destruction are the means to an end, not necessarily the end itself.”

The purpose of A is A, and B + C are the means to A, but are not A?; ,,,or are the means to an E, but not necessarily to the E itself?

Priscilla writes: “Regarding a fixation on this particular building…”, and she names some tenants.

What do those particular tenants, any tenants, or anyone at all, have to do with a supposed decision to take the extra time, go to the extra expense and the increased risk of discovery, of a vastly more difficult and technically challenging controlled demolition?

What does anything that Priscilla H. has pointed out have to do with a supposed decision to expertly control the intentional demolishing of that building, as opposed to just knocking it over?

Laura writes:

Priscilla is obviously writing with the assumption that Building 7 was brought down by the same people who destroyed the Twin Towers. Therefore the purpose of these terroristic acts, she writes, is to create terror in the public at large — ongoing terror that lasts for many years. Death and destruction are the means to creating this psychological condition.

I said this was a great point because it is a plausible theory for why Building 7 was destroyed in a controlled demolition.

The tenants of the building included intelligence agencies.

J.D. writes:

The central question is being avoided like the plague. If Building 7’s demolition was planned and executed, as many seem so compelled to speculate, why would someone go to the trouble of so precisely controlling it, collapsing it into the neatest possible pile? You’re both arguing against common sense and logic, that those who planned it went to extraordinary trouble in order to avoid as much collateral damage (to this building only) and casualties as humanly possible, as if they had a contract requirement and Lloyds of London was looking over their shoulder. Who? Why?

Laura writes:

Nothing is being avoided like the plague.

The goal was to demolish the building. That it was done neatly is not the main issue. The explosives had that effect. And they were very likely the same explosives used to bring down the Twin Towers, which also fell neatly after numerous witnesses heard the sound of explosives.

J.D. writes:

OK. I got it. I thought it was still an open question. That’s the only reason that I chimed in. You believe that it was “a goal”, and that it was “demolished”, and that either the same, or other explosives demolished the Twin Towers. I didn’t get that from what you initially posted.

Laura writes:

It is an open question. When I say, “The goal was to demolish the building,” I offer that as a theory.

I do believe there is enough evidence to suggest the destruction of Building 7 was a controlled demolition. In a controlled demolition, the goal is to demolish the building.

I will look at the evidence for a controlled demolition of the Twin Towers in a separate post.

Joe A. writes:

Priscilla hits the nail on the head:  this entire thread is an exercise in psycho-political domination.  In that regard, merely asking questions about one of the great disasters of our lifetime is answered with the exact “dog whistle” and pack-attack one usually expects from insane homosexual agitators, pro-abortionists, and gun grabbers we loath and despise..

For asking questions.

Take Mr Ericson for example:  he actually believes we ignorant peasants should bow and scrape before his indomitable intellect.  Why?  He’s some guy on an Internet blog citing the same narrative from the same people that brought us marriage equality, NSA citizen surveillance and zero-tolerance from kindergarten to your front yard.  Curiously, he uses the same techniques with the same smug attitude.  Why?  We are fellow traditionalists, on the same team.  I dare say there are more elite-level graduate degrees in the readership of The Thinking Housewife than at any dozen “rainbow” events.

Yet even here, in safe haven, heterodoxy is to be crushed by the self-appointed Thought Police.

Clearly there is a psychology at work quite beyond the truly academic quality of the argument.  Is this the way it is?  One is either a “terrible tyrant” or a “cowering peasant” but clearly the old notion of live and let live is gone.

So where does that leave us?

In a post-American, dis-United States where it’s every man for himself.

At least we know where we stand.

Et tu, Ericson?

Laura writes:

It is an exaggeration to say this entire thread is an exercise in political domination. Also, your comment violates my policy of no more personal attacks. I have posted it anyway …. because you have pointed out that my readers are very smart.

Priscilla writes:

To J.D.:

If the goal of the attack was terror, mission accomplished with the collapse of Buildings 1 and 2. The area around WTC 7 had already been evacuated at the time of its collapse, so no major casualties were possible even had they been desired.

In case anyone watched the Bill Whittle video, it is possible to execute a controlled demolition without miles of det cord, using wireless detonators which have been commercially available for decades (or so I understand, I am certainly no demolitions expert).

I love Bill Whittle, but his argument seems completely lamesauce on the topic of WTC 7 and frankly, he comes across as a little unhinged.

He contends that the best way to find out if a theory is true is to assume it’s true and then ask the follow up questions. For example, if the Loch Ness monster exists and is big as a whale, then why aren’t there countless pictures of it? By his own logic, then, if steel girded buildings collapse due to”normal” office fires shouldn’t we see countless examples of such buildings collapsing symmetrically at near free fall into their own footprints when on fire? He goes on to state that “half of the biggest building on the face of the United States of America…fell into WTC 7…the entire structure was gutted by wreckage.” This is an inaccurate and huge overstatement of the damage caused by falling debris. He states that in the official story, “everything’s consistent, everything’s coherent”, but obviously the reason for WTC 7’s collapsing as it did has yet to be explained satisfactorily. It seems to me by inductive reasoning (if it walks like a controlled demolition, looks like a controlled demolition, etc.) and Occam’s razor (I find controlled demolition a simpler theory than all the other various explanations, although I suppose one could disagree), controlled demolition is entirely plausible. At any rate, I lost some respect for Mr. Whittle due to his hysterical and violent rant and weak argumentation. Take a chill pill, Bill. He wants to detonate a grenade between truthers’ legs and hopes they die in a fire. Ooookay.

Thomas Vann writes:

I am fascinated by the comments to your Building Seven (B7) blog entry.

Eric’s comment concerning the 1993 effort to topple one of the Trade Center towers, thereby creating a domino type collapse of adjacent buildings, and that effort having resulted in the secret explosive
prewiring of the Trade Center buildings to foil such a future attack, seems plausible. In fact, I have read of this theory occasionally over the last decade. It would explain the collapse as well as attempts to deny the cause of the same.

Mr. Dean Ericson has eloquently expanded and disguised the tired old debate tactic of shouting – “Oh pleeaase, don’t tell me you are going to say . . . . . .”.

Scoffing at and mocking another one’s comments is always an effective tactic for terminating verbal debate, yet very lacking when it comes to written debate. The tactic quickly reveals itself. You were much more polite to Mr. Ericson than he deserves.

Thank you for your brilliant web site and the time you obviously spend on it.

Laura writes:

Thank you.

I was not offended by any of Mr Ericson’s comments.

You write:

Eric’s comment concerning the 1993 effort to topple one of the Trade Center towers, thereby creating a domino type collapse of adjacent buildings, and that effort having resulted in the secret explosive prewiring of the Trade Center buildings to foil such a future attack, seems plausible. In fact, I have read of this theory occasionally over the last decade. It would explain the collapse as well as attempts to deny the cause of the same.

Then why if that were the case, has this simple explanation not been given to the public?

That’s why it doesn’t make sense to me.

Mr. Vann writes:

You wrote in response to my comments:

“Then why if that were the case, has this simple explanation not been given to the public? That’s why it doesn’t make sense to me.”

If it was true that Building 7 was wired then B1 and B2 were probably also wired. Explain that to the public!! Also, to admit that any building was prewired would cause a pervasive panic among everyone in or near such a building.

Could it be that there was more than the plane crashes in each tower?  Could there have been other bombs and incendiaries – many firemen seem sure of it. Much has been said about pools of molten metal and thermite residue in the ruins. If authorities were certain B1 and B2 were going to topple and a plan of action was in place to prevent that, then maybe, as many seem to think, B1 and B2 were imploded. How could that possibly be explained to the public. You would just have to hide that.

Sooner or later something has to make sense. The official explanation just does not seem to make sense, and neither do any of these terrible conspiracy theories.

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