Thursday, June 29, 2006

Building 7, Again

Watch Larry Silverstein, owner of WTC7, say, “I remember getting a call from the, er, fire department commander, telling me that they were not sure they were gonna be able to contain the fire, and I said, We’ve had such terrible loss of life, maybe the smartest thing to do is pull it; and they made that decision to pull, and we watched the building collapse.”

It takes many weeks of planning and preparation by a team of highly trained experts to bring down a structure the size of Building 7. The first step is to locate a qualified organization. Their number is small, and it is not likely that the New York Fire Department is one of them. After negotiating a contract, the engineers have to obtain master blueprints and identify the main structural components. They must analyze the building materials, the thickness of load-bearing beams, the weight that rests upon them, the space between them, where the access points are to place charges, how intense the charges must be, in what timing sequence they must be ignited. A computerized firing system must be programmed to deliver the precisely timed firing impulses. Then the charges must be obtained from a storage depot in a remote location away from urban areas. Technicians must gain access to the beams and, in many cases, hack their way through walls to get to them. Safety procedures are followed to insure that all technicians are clear of the area before implosion is triggered.

This is just a sampling of what must be done before a building like Number 7 can be pulled, and it normally takes many weeks or even months to do it. Yet, the elapsed time between Mr. Silverstein's decision to “pull” the building and the final collapse was 45 minutes!


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