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 From Copyright © 2003 -PennWell Corporation. All rights reserved.
We believe this type of exhibition constitutes a 'fair use' of any such copyrighted
 material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance
 with Title 17  U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without
 profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included
information for research and educational purposes.

"Burning Questions...Need Answers":
FE's Bill Manning Calls for Comprehensive
 Investigation of WTC Collapse
Fair Lawn, NJ, January 4, 2002-Bill Manning, Fire Engineering's editor in chief, is summoning members of the fire service to "A Call to Action." In his January 2002 Editor's Opinion, "$elling Out the Investigation" (below), he warns that unless there is a full-blown investigation by an independent panel established solely for that purpose, "the World Trade Center fire and collapse will amount to paper- and computer-generated hypotheticals." Manning explained: "Clearly, there are burning questions that need answers .... The lessons about the buildings' design and behavior in this extraordinary event must be learned and applied in the real world."
In an interview with the New York Daily News today, Manning reiterated his call for a "full-throttle, fully resourced" investigation into the collapse of the World Trade Center. He is asking members of the fire service to read "WTC 'Investigation'? A Call to Action" in the January 2002 issue of Fire Engineering and at <AHREF="HTTP: www.fireengineering.com?fireengineering.com and to contact their representatives in Congress and officials in Washington to ask that a blue ribbon panel be convened to thoroughly investigate the WTC collapse.
Among those also calling for the investigation are Sally Regenhard, the mother of Christian Regenhard, the Fire Department of New York (FDNY) probationary firefighter killed in the World Trade Center (WTC) attack, and founder of the Campaign for Skyscraper Safety; Give Your Voice, a civilian relatives' group headed by Michael Cartier, who lost his brother in the collapse; prominent structural engineers and fire-safety experts, and New York State Senators Charles Schumer and Senator Hillary Rodham Clinton.


 $elling Out the Investigation
By Bill Manning
Did they throw away the locked doors from the Triangle Shirtwaist Fire? Did they throw away the gas can used at the Happyland Social Club Fire? Did they cast aside the pressure-regulating valves at the Meridian Plaza Fire? Of course not. But essentially, that's what they're doing at the World Trade Center.
For more than three months, structural steel from the World Trade Center has been and continues to be cut up and sold for scrap. Crucial evidence that could answer many questions about high-rise building design practices and performance under fire conditions is on the slow boat to China, perhaps never to be seen again in America until you buy your next car.
Such destruction of evidence shows the astounding ignorance of government officials to the value of a thorough, scientific investigation of the largest fire-induced collapse in world history. I have combed through our national standard for fire investigation, NFPA 921, but nowhere in it does one find an exemption allowing the destruction of evidence for buildings over 10 stories tall.
Hoping beyond hope, I have called experts to ask if the towers were the only high-rise buildings in America of lightweight, center-core construction. No such luck. I made other calls asking if these were the only buildings in America with light-density, sprayed-on fireproofing. Again, no luck-they were two of thousands that fit the description.
Comprehensive disaster investigations mean increased safety. They mean positive change. NASA knows it. The NTSB knows it. Does FEMA know it?
No. Fire Engineering has good reason to believe that the "official investigation" blessed by FEMA and run by the American Society of Civil Engineers is a half-baked farce that may already have been commandeered by political forces whose primary interests, to put it mildly, lie far afield of full disclosure. Except for the marginal benefit obtained from a three-day, visual walk-through of evidence sites conducted by ASCE investigation committee members- described by one close source as a "tourist trip"-no one's checking the evidence for anything.
Maybe we should live and work in planes. That way, if disaster strikes, we will at least be sure that a thorough investigation will help find ways to increase safety for our survivors.
As things now stand and if they continue in such fashion, the investigation into the World Trade Center fire and collapse will amount to paper- and computer-generated hypotheticals.
However, respected members of the fire protection engineering community are beginning to raise red flags, and a resonating theory has emerged: The structural damage from the planes and the explosive ignition of jet fuel in themselves were not enough to bring down the towers. Rather, theory has it, the subsequent contents fires attacking the questionably fireproofed lightweight trusses and load-bearing columns directly caused the collapses in an alarmingly short time. Of course, in light of there being no real evidence thus far produced, this could remain just unexplored theory.
The frequency of published and unpublished reports raising questions about the steel fireproofing and other fire protection elements in the buildings, as well as their design and construction, is on the rise. The builders and owners of the World Trade Center property, the Port Authority of New York-New Jersey, a governmental agency that operates in an accountability vacuum beyond the reach of local fire and building codes, has denied charges that the buildings' fire protection or construction components were substandard but has refused to cooperate with requests for documentation supporting its contentions.
Some citizens are taking to the streets to protest the investigation sellout. Sally Regenhard, for one, wants to know why and how the building fell as it did upon her unfortunate son Christian, an FDNY probationary firefighter. And so do we.
Clearly, there are burning questions that need answers. Based on the incident's magnitude alone, a full-throttle, fully resourced, forensic investigation is imperative. More important, from a moral standpoint, for the safety of present and future generations who live and work in tall buildings-and for firefighters, always first in and last out-the lessons about the buildings' design and behavior in this extraordinary event must be learned and applied in the real world.
To treat the September 11 incident any differently would be the height of stupidity and ignorance.
The destruction and removal of evidence must stop immediately.
The federal government must scrap the current setup and commission a fully resourced blue ribbon panel to conduct a clean and thorough investigation of the fire and collapse, leaving no stones unturned.
Firefighters, this is your call to action. Visit WTC "Investigation"?: A Call to Action, then contact your representatives in Congress and officials in Washington and help us correct this problem immediately.

From Copyright © 2003 -PennWell Corporation. All rights reserved.

# 2
 WTC "INVESTIGATION"?: A CALL TO ACTION
Never again! In the wake of the World Trade Center, we are left with many thoughts-thoughts of friends lost, thoughts of devastated families, thoughts of the tremendous impact on so many lives for so many years to come. Yet, we-America's fire service-are left with one critical thought: How can we prevent a disaster like this from ever happening again?
Yes, it was the terrorist pilots who slammed two jetliners into the Twin Towers. It was the ensuing fire, however, that brought the towers down. Make no mistake about it: This high-rise collapse was no "fluke." The temperatures experienced and heat release rates achieved at the World Trade Center could be seen in future high-rise fires.
There are many, many questions to be asked by us about the World Trade Center collapse and its implications on high-rise firefighting across the nation. Some questions are political, many are technical, others are philosophical. Here are a few (in no particular order) to think about.
* Given the typical resources of most fire departments, can we be expected to handle every high-rise fire thrown at us? When was the last time your city manager asked you for a complete list of resources that you need to fight a high-rise fire, including personnel? When was the last time a high-rise building owner asked if you would like him to install a special "firefighter elevator" for your exclusive use during a high-rise fire? When was the last time a building code committee called up a "downtown" battalion chief and asked him what he thought of the unlimited area and height provisions found in all of the model building codes-is it OK if we allow a 400-story building in your battalion, Chief? The bottom line is, Can we really handle high-rise fires adequately? Who are we kidding? Isn't this the "big secret" that Chief Vincent Dunn has been talking about for years?
* Beware the truss! Frank Brannigan has been admonishing us for years about this topic. It has been reported that the World Trade Center floors were supported by lightweight steel trusses, some in excess of 50 feet long. Need we say more?
* Modern sprayed-on steel "fireproofing" did not perform well at the World Trade Center. Haven't we always been leery about these materials? Why do many firefighters say that they would rather fight a high-rise fire in an old building than in a modern one? Isn't it because of the level of fire resistance provided? How much confidence do we have in the ASTM E-119 fire resistance test, whose test criteria were developed in the 1920s? ASTM E-119 is an antiquated test whose criteria for fire resistance do not replicate today's fires.
* The defend-in-place strategy was the wrong strategy at the World Trade Center. Many of those who ignored the directions to "stay where you are"
 are alive today because they self-evacuated. Do you still use defend-in-place strategies for large high-rise fires? When should you use them, and when should you not?
* We can see live broadcasts from
Afghanistan, but we can't communicate
via radios in many high-rise buildings.
What gives?

There are many more questions, more than we have answers for. What is clear is that things must change. Where do we begin? By putting things in perspective. The World Trade Center disaster was
* The largest loss of firefighters ever at one incident.
* The second largest loss of life on American soil.
* The first total collapse of a high-rise during a fire in United States history.
* The largest structural collapse in recorded history.
Now, with that understanding, you would think we would have the largest fire investigation in world history. You would be wrong. Instead, we have a series of unconnected and uncoordinated superficial inquiries. No comprehensive "Presidential Blue Ribbon Commission." No top-notch National Transportation Safety Board-like response. Ironically, we will probably gain more detailed information about the destruction of the planes than we will about the destruction of the towers. We are literally treating the steel removed from the site like garbage, not like crucial fire scene evidence.
The World Trade Center disaster demands the most comprehensive detailed investigation possible. No event in our entire fire service history has ever come close to the magnitude of this incident.

We, the undersigned, call on FEMA to immediately impanel a "World Trade Center Disaster Review Panel" to coordinate a complete review of all aspects of the World Trade Center incident.

The panel should be charged with creating a comprehensive report that examines a variety of topics including determining exactly how and why the towers collapsed, critiquing the building evacuation procedures and the means of egress, assessing the buildings' fire protection features (steel "fireproofing," fire protection systems, etc.), and reviewing the valiant firefighting procedures employed. In addition, the Panel should be charged with preparing a detailed set of recommendations, including the critical changes necessary to our building codes.

Please e-mail this (italicized) call to action to:
President George W. Bush (president@whitehouse.gov)
Senator Charles Schumer (senator@schumer.senate.gov)
Senator Hillary Clinton (senator@clinton.senate.gov)
FEMA Director Joe M. Allbaugh (director@fema.gov)
and to your own congressional representatives. To obtain e-mail addresses for your representatives, go to www.senate.gov/contacting/index.cfm and www.house.gov/writerep/.
Francis L. Brannigan, SFPE
Glenn P. Corbett, PE
Deputy Chief (Ret.) Vincent Dunn, FDNY



From Copyright © 2003 -PennWell Corporation. All rights reserved.
We believe this type of exhibition constitutes a 'fair use' of any such copyrighted
 material as provided for in section 107 of the US Copyright Law. In accordance
 with Title 17  U.S.C. Section 107, the material on this site is distributed without
 profit to those who have expressed a prior interest in receiving the included
information for research and educational purposes.
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