NIST Releases WTC-7 Report – Finally

On August 21, 2008 the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) unveiled its long-awaited report on the collapse of WTC-7. The announcement was made by NIST’s lead investigator, Dr. Shyam Sunder during a press conference at NIST headquarters in Gaithersburg, Maryland. The report can be downloaded from the NIST website.[1]

After studying the collapse of WTC-7 for five years, NIST scientists came to the surprising conclusion that ordinary office fires caused an entirely new phenomenon in the history of structural design. According to Dr. Sunder, the collapse of Building Seven was due to thermal expansion of lateral steel beams. This occurred at temperatures of only 570°F and caused the floor beams to detach from one of the building’s main core columns (#79), leaving the column unsupported. It then buckled, triggering what Dr. Sunder referred to as a “progressive collapse.”

In a press statement Sunder reviewed some of NIST’s key findings, then fielded questions.[2]

He acknowledged that the nearby collapse of WTC-1 caused only minor damage to WTC-7, which was unrelated to the collapse. Sunder also acknowledged that the substantial amount of diesel fuel stored in the lower section of WTC-7 was not a factor.

These latter admissions were startling, because this ruled out two of the main arguments previously advanced by FEMA in 2002 and by Sunder himself for the strange collapse of WTC-7 at 5:20 PM on the afternoon of September 11–––arguments that saw wide circulation, in part, because of a much-cited article in Popular Mechanics magazine.

Sunder mentioned that NIST examined alternative collapse scenarios, including the use of explosives, but ruled out incendiary devices because according to Sunder their use would have produced loud explosions that would have been heard throughout the neighborhood. Sunder claimed there were no such reports. However, NIST has also admitted that it failed to test for tell-tale residues.

Immediately following the NIST press conference, Architects and Engineers for 9/11 Truth staged a press conference of their own. Architect Richard Gage, a former quality-control administrator for Underwriter Labs named Kevin Ryan, Kamal Obeid and Michael Donly, both structural engineers, and Anthony Szamboti, a mechanical engineer, all took strong issue with NIST’s proposed collapse model. They pointed out that for a number of reasons NIST faced a formidable challenge trying to explain the collapse of WTC-7 as the result of ordinary office fires

Here are some of their salient points:

1. During a meeting of the NIST advisory committee, NIST scientists admitted that the fuel loading in WTC-7 was similar to that of the nearby twin towers. This means that, on average, the offices in WTC-7 had only enough fuel (i.e., carpets, desks, office dividers etc) to support a fire for about 20 minutes.

What is more, the steel columns in WTC-7 were protected with foam insulation rated to give at least 3 hours of fire protection. The steel beams in the floors had similar protection rated for 2 hours. How then did a 20-minute office fire cause thermal expansion and the catastrophic collapse claimed by NIST?

2. The pre-collapse photos and videos of WTC-7 do not support NIST’s claim that the fires were extensive. On the contrary, the videos/photos strongly suggest that the fires were rather minor and were limited to a few floors.

3. NIST acknowledged in its 2005 report that WTC-1 and WTC-2 survived the plane impacts, despite serious structural damage, and would have stood indefinitely, despite the fires, but for the fact that the impacts jarred loose SFRM foam and wallboard insulation. This allegedly exposed the steel columns and floor trusses to the fires.

Yet, in the case of WTC-7 there was no plane crash, hence, no violent impact to jar loose the insulation. For this reason all of the insulation in WTC-7 was 100% intact. The steel in the building was fully protected throughout and, therefor, would have been unaffected by ordinary office fires lasting no more than about 20 minutes. Obviously the fires had nothing to do with the total, symmetrical and near-free fall collapse of this 47-story steel skyscraper.

4. Nor do existing videos of the WTC-7 collapse on 9/11 support NIST’s collapse model. As Gage and the independent structural engineers pointed out, a progressive collapse means that failing columns will, in turn, pull over other nearby columns. This implies a gradual and asymmetric process, starting at the point of initiation, which then spreads throughout the structure. Yet, the videos clearly show that the collapse of WTC-7 happened everywhere all at once. The collapse was total, symmetric, and occurred at nearly free fall speed.

Also, a fire-caused collapse would have followed the path of least resistance, that is, would have occurred in a random and haphazard manner. Yet, the video evidence clearly shows that WTC-7 did just the opposite. As it collapsed it followed the path of greatest resistance. The steel framework of the building, comprising 40,000 tons of inter-connected structural columns and beams, literally fell through itself into its own footprint, and did so as if there were no resistance whatsoever.

Gage and the independent engineers insisted that to explain this, many columns had to fail simultaneously. This strongly suggested that the collapse was, in fact, a controlled demolition.

Numerous eyewitness accounts and a considerable amount of physical evidence also supports this conclusion. Multiple witnesses reported seeing molten steel in the wreckage. Witnesses also reported the subsequent removal of huge lumps of slag from the bottom of the pile. Several different investigations found tiny spheres of iron in the dust. Moreover, thermal imaging from above conducted by NASA five days after 9/11 recorded surface temperatures of 1,376°F. No doubt, temperatures under the pile were much higher. All of this evidence confirms that something melted steel in WTC-7. Yet, ordinary office fires obviously could not do this. Taken together, the evidence points to the use of high temperature explosives.

5. Gage also disputed NIST’s assertion that there were no reports of explosions. In his statement Gage identified numerous witnesses who heard explosions before WTC-7 collapsed. Some even reported hearing a countdown. Ryan also pointed out that incendiary thermite and thermate explosions are not nearly as loud as blasts caused by more common explosives, such as C-4 and RDX.

6. The panelists announced the discovery of yet another chemical residue, namely, 1,3-Diphenylpropane, which the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) found in the WTC dust in great abundance. Its presence evidently puzzled EPA scientists, who had never seen it before. As it turns out, 1,3-Diphenylpropane is the signature chemical residue for an especially explosive sol-gel form of nano-thermite, which can be applied to a steel surface like spray paint.

Ryan followed with another no less stunning disclosure. He claimed that various nano-thermites were developed in the late 1990s by US government scientists at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. Moreover, highly placed individuals at NIST were also involved in the research. According to Ryan, these incendiary explosives were even tested at the NIST laboratories, for which reason NIST cannot plead ignorance.[3]

7. Finally, NIST admits that it had very few steel samples from WTC-7 to study because most of the steel had already been hauled away by the time NIST launched its investigation. So how did NIST scientists conduct their study? On what did they base their conclusions? Once again, it appears that NIST relied heavily on computer modeling. But the panelists acknowledged it will take some time to analyze NIST’s voluminous report. Gage and Ryan promised a detailed response by September 15, 2008.[4]

In short, NIST’s claim that the collapse of WTC-7 was caused by an ordinary office fire is extremely dubious–––about as improbable as a chimpanzee attempting to scale Mt. Everest.

The collapse of the WTC was a prophetic event. It certainly was a prelude to what has transpired in our nation. No question, America is currently in free fall, with no bottom in sight.

The cause of 9/11 truth could be our last best chance to arouse the public and turn things around.

Mark H. Gaffney’s forthcoming book, The 9/11 Mystery Plane and the Vanishing of America will be released in September 2008 by Trineday Press. It will feature the first published analysis of the radar data from 9/11. Mark can be reached for comment at

The book can be pre-ordered at Amazon.

3 For more information see Kevin Ryan, “The Top Ten Connections Between NIST and Nano-Thermites,” July 2008, posted at
4 The response will be posted at