Engineer: Twin towers did not have to fall on 9/11

Twin Towers on Sept. 11, 2001

[Editor’s note: This story originally was published by Real Clear Wire.]

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By Peter Michalos
Real Clear Wire

Sunday’s memorial events commemorating the tragic events of 9/11 made me reflect on a fascinating conversation I had in 2003 with one of my patients, who had served as a senior engineer during the construction of the World Trade Center. He told me the real reason why the Towers fell on 9/11. The facts he related to me have been borne out by reporting in the New York Times and Washington Post, as well as disclosures from the 9/11 mesothelioma victims’ lawsuits.

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When construction commenced in 1968, asbestos, which was still in common use, was applied in a series of coatings to fireproof the steel beams in the lower floors of the North Tower. This was before the medical dangers of asbestos exposure had become widely known. Then, in April 1970, the New York City Department of Air Resources adopted strict asbestos spray regulations, and soon after issued a stop-work order for all further asbestos use on the project. It was determined that the upper levels of the North Tower and the entire South Tower would forgo asbestos spray, and a less effective alternative would be used in its place.

Fast forward 31 years to the horrific day of 9/11. The intense jet fuel fire following the twin collisions quickly melted the inadequately protected structural steel of several of the upper floors. It wasn’t long before the steel failed and the massive weight of those floors came down on the lower floors like a billion-ton jackhammer, triggering a pancake collapse of the Towers. The North Tower, which was built using a one-and-a-half-inch-thick version of the substitute insulation, fell in 104 minutes. The South Tower, with only a three-quarter-inch version of the asbestos alternative, fell in just 56 minutes.

By comparison, the Empire State Building, which took a direct hit from a B-25 Mitchell bomber flying in a thick fog on July 28, 1945, suffered a far different fate. While 14 people sadly died, no structural damage occurred. The Depression-era skyscraper was constructed of rock-hard brick with a steel skeleton heavily coated with asbestos fireproofing.

My patient (whose name I, as his physician, must keep confidential) ended his remarkable story, explaining that the World Trade Center, while an engineering marvel, was clearly not built according to the stringent fireproofing standards as originally specified by the engineers.

Were the Twin Towers badly engineered?

68% (32 Votes)

32% (15 Votes)

#firefly-poll-container #firefly-poll-results-yes::before { content: “Yes: “; } #firefly-poll-container #firefly-poll-results-no::before { content: “No: “; }

His sad conclusion: A premeditated flaw in the engineering of the World Trade Center is what transformed two air collisions into a cataclysmic, history-changing event resulting in countless deaths and decades of global strife.

It goes to follow that the lessons of the failed World Trade Center bombing of 1993 were not lost on a determined civil engineering student whose family owned one of the largest construction firms in the Middle East — a jihadist who understood all too well the structural vulnerabilities of glass-and-steel skyscrapers.

His name:  Osama Bin Laden.

Dr. Peter Michalos, MD is a regular on-air medical contributor to 77-WABC Radio and NPR Long Island. He also writes a medical column for Dan’s Papers of the Hamptons.

This article was originally published by RealClearPolicy and made available via RealClearWire.

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