Building 7: Why Conspiracy Theorists Get It Wrong

Twelve years have passed since two planes crashed into the twin towers, taking thousands of Americans' lives and leaving 16 acres of New York City barren. The international chaos has given rise to conspiracy theories surrounding the cause of the attacks, the most prominent of which is that the U.S. government was involved in terror attacks by orchestrating the "controlled demolition" of the World Trade Center 7 (WTC 7) building. WTC 7 collapsed seven hours after the twin towers (WTC 1 and WTC 2) did, and suffered minimal damage from the plane crashes. Conspiracy theorists claim that the building owner "pulled it." The argument that Americans placed explosives and blasted them in Building 7 is ludicrous and unreasonable. Evidence identified over the past 12 years explains why.

The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST)'s 2008 final report states the fire from twin towers initially caused the metal building floors to expand and soon "fail." After seven hours, a "progressive collapse" of Building 7 happened, which was caused by the "spread of local damage … eventually resulting in the collapse of an entire structure, or a disproportionately large part of it."

Conspiracy theorists claim that this explanation is flawed because 1) fire alone cannot destroy a steel-frame building and 2) the building was unnecessarily torn down when the structure was standing.

The report claims that Building 7's design contributed to its vertical collapse as the columns near the visible kinks were carrying exceptionally large loads, roughly 2000 sqare feet of floor area for each floor, according to Popular Mechanics.

NIST concluded that the blasts within the building did not occur and found no evidence that could explain why they would have happened. Blasts from the smallest charge capable of failing a single critical column would have resulted in a sound level of 130 decibels to 140 decibels, 10 decibels short of eardrum rupture at a distance of at least half a mile. No witnesses reported hearing of such a loud noise, nor was such a noise heard on the audio tracks of video recordings of the WTC 7 collapse.

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Eunji Kim

Interested in race and gender issues and Asian politics. Recent grad from Rutgers/Douglass Residential College. Former intern at Fairness and Accuracy In Reporting (FAIR) and The Nation.

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