WTC 7 report set for summer 2008 release

UPDATE: The NIST 9/11 WTC 7 report was released Aug. 21, 2008. Read more about it here.

The delayed National Institute of Standards and Technology report on the collapse of the World Trade Center 7 following the 9/11 terrorist attack in 2001 will be released for public comment this July. A final version will be published a month later, in August 2008.

NIST’s investigation of the WTC 7 collapse was supposed to have been completed by the end of 2006, but more complex, and time-consuming, computer simulations, along with a consideration of some additional evidence (mainly architectural and construction documents and plans), has stretched out the process, according to Michael E. Newman of NIST.

The public airing of NIST’s conclusions should bring relative closure to the scientific/engineering investigation of the 9/11 World Trade Center attack. WTC 7, a 47-story office building damaged by debris from the destruction of the Twin Towers, collapsed on the afternoon of September 11, 2001.

Some 9/11 conspiracy theorists maintain that WTC 7 was “pulled down” in a controlled demolition ordered by the government, an allegation that has been advanced by celebrity “9/11 Truthers” Charlie Sheen and Rosie O’Donnell. While there has been no credible evidence produced for these claims, they have been a staple of those arguing that 9/11 was part of a sinister government conspiracy.

NIST’s working hypothesis for the collapse of WTC 7 is that fire and/or debris caused damage to a critical column and triggered a progressive and “disproportionate collapse of the entire structure”—essentially that the wounded building fell in on itself.

In its report, NIST will also review hypothetical blast scenarios (there were fuel storage tanks in WTC 7 and a Con Ed substation) since, as Newman said, “we couldn’t rule it out” as a potential contributor to the collapse.

The NIST investigation of the collapse of the Twin Towers was a model of the scientific process with questions, assumptions, hypotheses, and evidence laid out for public review. Based on the WTC 7 inquiry’s careful and measured approach to date, we are likely to find that the NIST report this summer offers well-founded reasons for the building’s structural failure, and provides them in a transparent way.

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Copyright © 2008 Jefferson Flanders
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12 thoughts on “WTC 7 report set for summer 2008 release

  1. When you say that there is “no credible evidence produced for these claims”, I wonder to myself if you have visited This website is Architects and Engineers for 9-11 truth.

    The site was started by Richard Gage, a professional architect who specializes in high-rise steel framed structures.

    He started this website to spread the word that the events of 9-11 are fishy, at best. He has produced a great deal of empirical evidence from video tape, witness accounts, structural blueprints, and as much physical evidence from the tiny amount that was left for examining after the “clean-up”.

    Also, It should be noted that NIST’s choice of words about Building 7 being a “disproportionate collapse of the entire structure” is illogical at best, and deceitful at worst. Anyone, even someone with NO KNOWLEDGE of steel framed architecture and high rise demolition, who saw the different video views of the collapse could easily see that the collapse was anything but disproportionate. The building fell STRAIGHT DOWN!!! Right into a nice, neat little pile, that coincidentally was cleaned up with the help of a company called Controlled Demolition Inc.

    People need to stop this “emperors new clothes” type of disinformational reporting. To someone who read this article, they would absolutely believe that no credible evidence has been put forth. has had over 300 verified professional architects and engineers sign the websites petition for a truly independant (non-government funded!) re-investigation of 9-11. In America, we will convict a death penalty case based on 12 strangers decisions, and two eyewitnesses. Why on earth wouldn’t you listen to over 300 professionals that specialize in this business?

  2. Dear Mr. Jones,

    First, I will continue to maintain that a convincing case for controlled demolition of any of the WTC buildings hasn’t been made. Such claims are not supported by the evidence.

    I have indeed visited the Architects and Engineers for 9-11 Truth website. I respect the right of these professionals to make a political statement about 9/11. However, the “science” behind their assertions is less than impressive, and I have seen nothing that seriously challenges the NIST reports on WTC 1 and WTC 2.

    On WTC 7, the initial hypothesis by NIST seems reasonable and I think the final report this summer should offer a credible scientific explanation for the collapse of the building.

    As to the question of disinformation: NIST has openly published its findings on WTC 1 and WTC 2. It will do the same on WTC 7. How is that disinformation?

    Unless the 9/11 “Truth Movement” can come up with a coherent and rational counter-explanation, one backed by concrete evidence and logic—something it has failed to do to date—it will never be more than a faith-based movement. I don’t happen to share that faith.


  3. “I respect the right of these professionals to make a political statement about 9/11. However, the “science” behind their assertions is less than impressive.”

    you must be joking, right? “a political statement”, thats what you call wtc7 coming down in a controlled demolition 7hrs later,no plane hitting it, amy goodman heard the count down as well as firefighters, and have you asked larry what he meant by “pull it”?
    “less than impressive” sorry to say but a blind man can see the video of wtc7 an know it was a controlled demolition. if you need nist to tell you what to think your a fool.
    its been 7yrs nist has change their final report how many times?

    NIST Response to the World Trade Center Disaster
    Federal Building and Fire Safety Investigation
    the World Trade Center Disaster
    Part IIC – WTC 7 Collapse
    April 5, 2005

    Federal Building and Fire Safety Investigation
    of the World Trade Center Disaster
    Project 6: WTC 7 Structural Fire Response
    and Collapse Analysis
    June 22, 2004


  4. Dear Mr. Crowley,

    Still waiting for any scientific evidence of controlled demolition of WTC 7.

    As to the counting down story, told by Kevin McPadden, I would suggest you review the thread at the James Randi Educational Foundation, “Whatever Happened to ‘Mike the EMT’ and Kevin ‘WTC Countdown’ McPadden” here:

    Amy Goodman has NOT corroborated any countdown story, as can be seen in the following link from a 9/11 conspiracist who tries to get her to acknowledge it (and note the anti-Semetic undertone here, common to some elements of the 9/11 “Truth” movement):

    As to the Larry Silverstein “pull it” quote, that has been rehashed repeatedly, and Mr. Silverstein has said he meant the firefighting teams should be pulled, and demolition experts have said repeatedly that it is not a term they use for bringing buildings down.

    Finally, I see the fact that NIST has revised its hypothesis on WTC 7 over time as part of the scientific process.


  5. Well Jefferson, I have to flatly disagree with everything you just said.

    I maintain that a convincing case for controlled demolition of the WTC buildings has been made. And unlike the NIST reports, these claims are supported by the evidence.

    They are founded upon good science and rational analysis. Conversely, the FEMA and NIST reports ignore and distort inconvenient data to arrive at conclusions that could properly be characterized as political.

    It is disinformation precisely because it is published. The spuriously bloated content of NIST’s reports guarantee few but the determined will find time to discover the anti-science within.

    Those who simply accept NIST’s conclusion that for the first time in history three steel framed towers suddenly imploded, essentially through the agency of fire, are joining a faith-based movement. Those who study the report will agree it is nonsense.

  6. “Still waiting for any scientific evidence of controlled demolition of WTC 7.”

    Still waiting for any scientific evidence that some fire and damage could cause what was observed at WTC 7.

  7. Dear Mr. Richards,

    It’s not only FEMA and NIST who maintain that the jetliners smashing into WTC 1 and 2 caused their collapse, and brought debris raining down on WTC 7, leading to its collapse. Lots of other engineers and scientists have studied what happened as well.

    As to the “demolition theory,” I would suggest that you read a very complete report written by Brent Blanchard, senior editor for Implosionworld,com and director of field operations at Protect Documentation Services, Inc. in 2006 entitled: “A Critical Analysis of the Collapse of WTC Towers 1, 2 & & from an Explosives and Conventional Demolition Industry Viewpoint.

    You can get the complete report in PDF format at

    Blanchard responds to some of the major assertions made by 9/11 conspiracy theorists. (I have quoted more extensively his comments on WTC 7.)

    ASSERTION #1: ‘The towers’ collapse looked exactly like explosive demolitions.’ PROTEC COMMENT: No, they didn’t. It’s the ‘where.’

    ASSERTION #2: ‘But they fell straight down into their own footprint.’ PROTEC COMMENT: They did not. They followed the path of least resistance, and there was a lot of resistance.

    ASSERTION #3: ‘But explosive charges (aka plumes, squibs, etc.) can clearly be seen shooting from several floors just prior to collapse.’ PROTEC COMMENT: No, air and debris can be seen pushing violently outward, which is a natural and predictable effect of rapid structural collapse.

    ASSERTION#4: ‘Several credible eyewitnesses are adamant that they heard explosions in or near the towers.’ PROTEC COMMENT: Maybe they did hear loud noises that sounded to them like explosions, but such statements do nothing to refute scientific evidence that explosives were not used.

    ASSERTION #5: ‘An explosive other than conventional dynamite or RDX was used . . . a non-detonating compound such as thermite (aka thermate), which gets very hot upon initiation and can basically ‘melt’ steel. This can be proven by photographs of molten steel taken at Ground Zero, the temperature and duration of underground fires, and comments made by rescue workers. PROTEC COMMENT: We have come across no evidence to support this claim.

    ASSERTION #6: ‘Debris removed from Ground Zero—particularly the large steel columns from towers #1 and #2—were quickly shipped overseas to prevent independent examination or scrutiny.’ PROTEC COMMENT: Not according to those who handled the steel.

    ASSERTION #7: ‘WTC 7 was intentionally ‘pulled down’ with explosives. No airplane hit it, and the building owner himself was quoted as saying he made a decision to ‘pull it’.’ PROTEC COMMENT: This scenario is extremely unlikely for many reasons.

    The above assertion has taken several forms over the past few years and has developed into a major point of discussion amongst conspiracy theorists. Most recently, it was used as a cornerstone allegation on C-SPAN’S national broadcast of a 9/11 symposium hosted by Mr. Alex Jones, an author and radio personality who is highly critical of the government’s handling of 9/11.

    … from a demolition standpoint, several aspects of this claim are problematic.

    1. A building owner would never be in a position to dictate to fire personnel or emergency workers whether his building should be “pulled” or demolished. We know of no case where command and control of a disaster scene has ever been transferred to a private third party, much less a disaster of such scope. This action would violate a number of ethical canons regarding the safety of emergency responders and the general public, not to mention exposing those who transferred and assumed such authority to substantial liability risks. Therefore, even if such a statement was made on 9/11, it is highly doubtful that the comment would have affected decisions at the scene.

    2. We have never once heard the term “pull it” being used to refer to the explosive demolition of a building, and neither has any blast team we’ve spoken with. The term is used in conventional demolition circles, to describe the specific activity of attaching long cables to a pre-weakened building and maneuvering heavy equipment (excavators, bulldozers, etc.) to “pull” the frame of the structure over onto its side for further dismantlement. This author and our research team were on site when workers pulled over the six-story remains of WTC-6 in late fall 2001, however we can say with certainty that a similar operation would have been logistically impossible at Ground Zero on 9/11, physically impossible for a building the size of WTC 7, and the structure did not collapse in that manner anyway.

    3. Any detonation of explosives within WTC 7 would have been detected by multiple seismographs monitoring ground vibration in the general area (see Assertion #4). No such telltale “spike” or vibratory anomaly was recorded by any monitoring instrument.

    4. Saying, “No airplane hit it” implies the structure suffered minimal effects from the planes crashing into the adjacent towers. In fact, nothing could be further from the truth. Video and photographs of the north tower collapse clearly depict substantial upper sections of the building falling outward and impacting WTC buildings 6 and 7. This was not a glancing blow from extraneous material, rather thousands of tons of steel girders falling directly into the building from hundreds of feet above. WTC 7 sustained significant impact damage to its southwest corner up to the 18-20th floor, or a little less than halfway up the building. There was also significant damage to the building’s south face, although dense smoke present in most photos hinders an exact assessment. Other photos depict several lower floors fully involved in a large fire that either began upon impact or shortly thereafter, and most experts point to the large stockpile of diesel fuel stored in the basement as the likely catalyst. Regardless of the fire’s origin, these flames are clearly visible from all four sides of the structure. With most local firefighting equipment destroyed and the search for survivors being of primary concern, these intense fires were left to burn uncontrolled for more than six hours, further compromising the already badly damaged structure. Given these facts, any implication that WTC 7 was not substantially affected by the original plane crashes is not accurate.

    5. Several demolition teams had reached Ground Zero by 3:00pm on 9/11, and these individuals witnessed the collapse of WTC 7 from within a few hundred feet of the event. We have spoken with several who possess extensive experience in explosive demolition, and all reported hearing or seeing nothing to indicate an explosive detonation precipitating the collapse. As one eyewitness told us, “We were all standing around helpless…we knew full well it was going to collapse. Everyone there knew. You gotta remember there was a lot of confusion and we didn’t know if another plane was coming…but I never heard explosions like demo charges. We knew with the damage to that building and how hot the fire was, that building was gonna go, so we just waited, and a little later it went.”

    6. Finally, we have not discovered or been presented with any physical evidence indicating explosives were used to fell the structure.

    We do not know exactly how or why WTC 7 fell when it did, and we decline to hypothesize here. All we can offer is that, from a demolition and structural failure standpoint, available data does not rule out the possibility of the building collapsing as a direct result of the structural conditions detailed above.

    ASSERTION #8: ‘A steel-framed building has never collapsed due to fire, yet three steel buildings collapsed on one day . . . therefore explosives must have been responsible.’ PROTEC COMMENT: No, actually it means three steel buildings collapsed due to fire (and violent external forces) on one day.

    ASSERTION #9: ‘Anyone denying that explosives were used is intentionally ignoring or dismissing evidence that doesn’t suit their conclusion.’ PROTEC COMMENT: Please . . . if anyone knows of specific physical evidence relating to explosives being used in any manner on the Ground Zero site, bring it to our attention.”

    There is more on each of these assertions in the full Blanchard piece. It will be interesting to see how closely his views match those of NIST when the WTC 7 report is released this summer.


  8. I have not read Blanchard’s piece, but will do so.
    However, reading your assertions summary I can say that every counter argument is very familiar and none of them carry weight. It’s late now, but if I have time I’ll come back and tackle them one by one.

    I notice Jim Hoffmann already has:

    In the meantime I draw your attention to:

    ASSERTION #8: ‘A steel-framed building has never collapsed due to fire, yet three steel buildings collapsed on one day . . . therefore explosives must have been responsible.’ PROTEC COMMENT: No, actually it means three steel buildings collapsed due to fire (and violent external forces) on one day.

    For the first and only time in over a hundred years history of such buildings, three steel framed towers underwent global collapse. Never before (or since) has anything but controlled demolition caused this phenomenon, be it fire, airplane or earthquake. Even earthquakes which can destroy steel framed buildings with powerful vibrational forces and by undermining their foundations do not cause collapses comparable either to controlled demolitions or those that occurred on 9/11.

    This isn’t even a counter argument offered to this assertion – unless it is being suggested that because this unprecedented event occurred three times on the same day it can no longer be considered extraordinary. By that logic, if hundreds of buildings had spontaneously imploded on 9/11 we would need no investigation at all.

  9. em its August. 2008. Care to link the careful well thought out unbiased and slightly overdue report?

  10. Mr Flanders.

    In 2005 FEMA states that the best hypothesis, diesel fuel fires has only a LOW PROBABILITY of explaining why WTC 7 fell.
    3 years later NIST concludes that it wasnt Diesel fuel but it was actually office furnishings that cause the global collapse. You are kidding right? What burns hotter? a desk and a chair? OR a tank of diesel fuel. If you answered desk and chair you are MOST LIKELY an ignorant american. Did you also notice that the NIST report states that fires MOST LIKELY caused the collapse of the WTC7 building. Do they bother to explain how the buidling collapsed in 6 secs? Us truthers are seeking some scientific evidence as well. Unfortunately, MOST LIKELY and PROBABLE dont cut it. Tell the 1.25 MILLION dead iraqis and afghanis that the reason you invaded and occupy their territories is because a bunch of SAUDI’S PROBABLY or MOST LIKELY were responsible for 911. Try convicting anyone in a court of law for PROBABLY or MOST LIKELY doing what they are accused of doing. Try giving us some SCIENTIFIC EVIDENCE for once.
    PS: If steel frame structures globally collapse due to office furnishing fires, you might wanna advise the worlds engineering, architect and construction community. Not one building in this world can be deemed SAFE!!!

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