The sudden and total collapse of Building 7 at approximately 5:20 p.m. on 9/11 astonished the engineering community. The New York Times reported: “Engineers and other experts…were for weeks still stunned by what happened with World Trade Center 7…’We know what happened at 1 and 2, but why did 7 come down?’”1

The surprising nature of the total collapse of this 47-story skyscraper, which was not hit by a plane, seemed to be contradicted by the fact that many authorities clearly knew the building was going to come down long before it actually fell. The New York City Office of Emergency Management began telling firefighters to leave the building before noon. (Firefighter Currid: “Someone from the Office of Emergency Management told us that this building was in serious danger of collapse. The consensus was that it was basically a lost cause and we should not lose anyone else trying to save it. Rich, a few other people and I went inside to the stairwells and started yelling up, ‘Drop everything and get out!’”).2 There are people on record as having known the time of the collapse within minutes, if not seconds, and as having known that the collapse would be total. A collapse zone of five blocks was established around the building; horns were blown; firefighters were cleared from the perimeter. (Firefighter Long: “They were just adamant about 7 coming down immediately. I think we got out of that rubble and 18 minutes later is when 7 came down”).3

The most dramatic cases of apparent foreknowledge were those evident in media reporting. Fox 5 News in Washington D.C. erroneously reported the collapse 45 seconds before it happened;4 the BBC erroneously reported that the collapse had happened approximately 23 minutes before it did;5 and CNN jumped the gun by one hour and 10 minutes.6 When confronted by these peculiarities the media have tended to deny they were told in advance of the collapse, yet we have MSNBC’s Ashleigh Banfield on video prior to the collapse pointing at Building 7, identifying it by name, and reporting that several officers had told her, “that is the building that is going to go down next. In fact, one officer told me they’re just waiting for that to come down at this point.”7

Authorities attempted soon after the event to explain this foreknowledge by portraying it as legitimate evidence-based prediction: the building had been damaged when the North Tower fell and was “unstable,” hence in danger. The problem is that after years of study the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) issued a report that refuted all these early charges. There is no evidence, they said, that the building was unstable due to damage from the collapse of the North Tower: structural damage was minor and cannot explain the collapse. NIST concluded the building came down from office fires. They acknowledged that no steel framed skyscraper had previously come down from fire: this event was historically unique. Their explanation also involved the coming together, at the last minute, of a series of unpredictable conditions, including the migration of the building fires.

But how can NIST’s collapse explanation, filled with references to the unique and the random, be made to fit with the widespread and detailed foreknowledge of Building 7′s impending collapse? It cannot. We are driven to conclude that the building’s dramatic and total collapse had the same cause as every previous dramatic and total collapse of a steel framed skyscraper: controlled demolition. We have indisputable testimony that deliberately bringing the building down was discussed as a possibility by authorities on 9/11: for example, on live television FDNY Lieutenant David Restuccio told Brian Williams immediately after the collapse: “We had heard reports that the building was unstable, and that eventually it would either come down on its own, or it would be taken down.”8

We must conclude that the foreknowledge of Building 7′s collapse derived from those authorities who were determined to bring down the building through controlled demolition.

[1] James Glanz, “Engineers Suspect Diesel Fuel in Collapse of 7 World Trade Center,” New York Times, November 29, 2001.

[2] Dean E. Murphy, Editor, “September 11: An Oral History,” New York, NY: Doubleday, 2002, p.175-176.