Monday 28 October 2002

The World Trade Centre Demolition

On the 11th September, 2001, three steel framed skyscrapers, World Trade Center One, World Trade Center Two and World Trade Center Seven, collapsed entirely. Other than structures bought down in controlled demolitions, these three buildings are the only steel framed skyscrapers, in the entire history of high rise buildings, to have suffered total collapse. World Trade Centers 3, 4, 5 and 6 also suffered significant damage, but none of these suffered the total collapse seen in World Trade Centers 1, 2 and 7 (in fact, these other buildings showed amazing survivability given that they were repeatedly hit by hundreds of tons of pieces of World Trade Centers 1 and 2, which on impact were traveling at well over 100 miles per hour).

On the 23rd July, 2001, just seven weeks previous, the Port Authority of New York and New Jersey signed a deal with a consortium led by Larry Silverstein for a 99 year lease of the World Trade Center complex. The leased buildings included WTCs One, Two, Four, Five and 400,000 square feet of retail space. The Marriott Hotel (WTC 3), U.S. Customs building (WTC 6) and Silverstein's own 47-story office building (WTC 7) were already under lease. Silverstein is seeking $7.2 billion from insurers for the destruction of the center. One would estimate that the chances of the insurers paying out anything at all, are close to zero.

It should be emphasized that World Trade Center Seven suffered total collapse. World Trade Center Seven was neither hit by an aircraft nor by falling debris from the twin towers. If the claim that it was destroyed by fire were true (it is not) then it would be the only steel framed skyscraper ever to have collapsed exclusively due to fire. Although the WTC Seven collapse warrants the writing of a book, we will deal only with the collapses of WTCs One and Two.


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