WTC7 Pulled


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The story...

Larry Silverstein said that WTC7 was "pulled", intentionally demolished. 

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.

If WTC7 was wired up with explosives, then why not the other towers?

Our take...

Alex Jones has just one of the takes on this story:

Larry Silverstein, the owner of the WTC complex, admitted on a September 2002 PBS documentary, 'America Rebuilds' that he and the NYFD decided to 'pull' WTC 7 on the day of the attack. The word 'pull' is industry jargon for taking a building down with explosives...

We know that the term 'pull it' means to bring the building down by means of explosives because in the same documentary a cleanup worker (in December 2001) refers to the demolition of WTC Building 6 when he says, "...we're getting ready to pull the building six."

There’s an immediate issue with this, though, because building 6 was not demolished with explosives. Joël v.d. Reijden reported an ImplosionWorld comment that describes what “pulled”, in the WTC6 context, actually meant:

Conventionally, "pull a building" can mean to pre-burn holes in steel beams near the top floor and affix long cables to heavy machinery, which then backs up and causes the structure to lean off its center of gravity and eventually collapse. But this is only possible with buildings about 6-7 stories or smaller. This activity was performed to bring down WTC 6 (Customs) after 9/11 because of the danger in demolishing conventionally."

So here “pull” isn’t as much slang, as a literal description of the final part of the process. Which doesn’t sound like something that matches up with WTC7.

Other sites go further, suggesting
“pull it” isn’t commonly used slang for demolition at all. And Reijden, despite believing it’s most likely that WTC7 was demolished by explosives, doesn’t accept that Silverstein’s quote is in itself evidence of that. He reports:

I mailed Jowenko BV and asked if 'pull' was an industry term for 'demolish'. They said it wasn't. Implosionworld said the same thing. I run into the same problem when looking into different dictionaries. There is always a distinction made between 'pull down', 'pull away' and 'pull back'. And I have not been able to find one person on the internet who uses this word as a substitute for 'demolish'. So I think it's safe to assume that Larry needs to clarify what he meant, but unfortunately he refuses to do that.

Those sceptical of the “pull=demolish” idea suggest that “pull it” could mean “pull a firefighting operation”, instead. And even sites collecting examples to show that it is a demolition term (see, for instance), offer some support for this idea. Note how that page also contains the following quotes referring to the firefighters (our emphasis on the words in bold):

...they had a hoseline operating. Like I said, it was hitting the sidewalk across the street, but eventually they pulled back too...

Firehouse: Chief Nigro said they made a collapse zone and wanted everybody away from number 7— did you have to get all of those people out?
Hayden: Yeah, we had to pull everybody back.

And we have other issues with the “demolition” interpretation of Silverstein’s remarks.

Problem #1, Larry Silverstein is not a demolition contractor, neither was the fire department chief, so why should we assume they’d be using slang demolition terms?

Problem #2, Silverstein says "they made that decision to pull", for instance -- the Fire Department. If "pull" means "demolish", then he's saying the Fire Department may not have decided to bring the building down if they couldn't contain the fire, but because it was beyond them, they decided to blow it up. Does this make sense? Not in the slightest.

Problem #3, Silverstein is suggesting that the decision to demolish the building was optional. It might not have happened. Does this fit with the idea of a convenient insurance scam? No, not at all.

Problem #4, why would the Fire Department willingly agree to engage in a multi-million dollar insurance fraud?

Problem #5, and since when do Fire Departments blow up buildings anyway?

Problem #6, and if it's so obvious that WTC7 was demolished, then why are the insurance companies not suing Silverstein for fraud? 

Problem #7, and why would Silverstein admit this on television?

You could argue that this is just Silverstein’s cover story, he didn’t really mean all that, he wasn’t speaking to the Fire Department, but then the situation is becoming even more complicated. What are we supposed to believe: that he accidentally let slip the truth in “pull it”, while lying elsewhere? What is the basis for picking out two words in this account as reliable, and dismissing most of the others?

We prefer a simpler solution. And if "pull it" means "pull people away from the building", then the problems certainly fall away. This decision to pull really is optional, for instance (they could decide to try and fight it, or not). And it's a decision that could, and would be made by the Fire Department. With this interpretation we don't have to pick out some words, or throw any others away, and the answer actually makes sense.

This also happens to be Silverstein’s explanation:

On September 9, 2005, Mr. Dara McQuillan, a spokesman for Silverstein Properties, issued the following statement on this issue:

Seven World Trade Center collapsed at 5:20 p.m. on September 11, 2001, after burning for seven hours. There were no casualties, thanks to the heroism of the Fire Department and the work of Silverstein Properties employees who evacuated tenants from the building.

The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) conducted a thorough investigation of the collapse of all the World Trade Center buildings. The FEMA report concluded that the collapse of Seven World Trade Center was a direct result of fires triggered by debris from the collapse of WTC Tower 1.

In the afternoon of September 11, Mr. Silverstein spoke to the Fire Department Commander on site at Seven World Trade Center. The Commander told Mr. Silverstein that there were several firefighters in the building working to contain the fires. Mr. Silverstein expressed his view that the most important thing was to protect the safety of those firefighters, including, if necessary, to have them withdraw from the building.

Later in the day, the Fire Commander ordered his firefighters out of the building and at 5:20 p.m. the building collapsed. No lives were lost at Seven World Trade Center on September 11, 2001.

As noted above, when Mr. Silverstein was recounting these events for a television documentary he stated, “I said, you know, we've had such terrible loss of life. Maybe the smartest thing to do is to pull it.” Mr. McQuillan has stated that by “it,” Mr. Silverstein meant the contingent of firefighters remaining in the building.

One objection to this account is that it mentions firefighters being in the building. Many point to FEMA’s report that there was no firefighting effort at all, and other accounts that say people were pulled away by 11:30 in the morning.

WTC 7 collapsed approximately 7 hours after the collapse of WTC 1. Preliminary indications were that, due to lack of water, no manual firefighting actions were taken by FDNY."

By 11:30 a.m., the fire commander in charge of that area, Assistant Chief Frank Fellini, ordered firefighters away from it for safety reasons.

However, FEMA’s talk of “preliminary indications” suggest even they don’t view this as a definitive timeline, and NIST place firefighters in and around the building into the early afternoon.

One Battalion Chief coming from the building indicated that they had searched floors 1 through 9 and found that the building was clear.390 In the process of the search, the Battalion Chief met the building’s Fire Safety Director and Deputy Fire Safety Director on the ninth floor. The Fire Safety Director reported that the building’s floors had been cleared from the top down. By this time, the Chief Officer responsible for WTC 7 reassessed the building again and determined that fires were burning on the following floors: 6, 7, 8, 17, 21, and 30.391 No accurate time is available for these actions during the WTC 7 operations; however, the sequence of event indicates that it occurred during a time period from 12:30 p.m. to approximately 2:00 p.m.

The Chief Officer then met with his command officer to discuss the building’s condition and FDNY’s capabilities for controlling the building fires. A Deputy Chief who had just returned from inside the building reported that he had conducted an inspection up to the 7th or 8th floor.392 He indicated that the stairway was filling with smoke and that there was a lot of fire inside the building. The chiefs discussed the situation and the following conditions were identified: 393, 394

• The building had sustained damage from debris falling into the building, and they were not sure about the structural stability of the building.

• The building had large fires burning on at least six floors. Any one of these six fires would have been considered a large incident during normal FDNY operations.

• There was no water immediately available for fighting the fires.

• They didn’t have equipment, hose, standpipe kits, tools, and enough handie talkies for conducting operations inside the building.

At approximately, 2:30 p.m., FDNY officers decided to completely abandon WTC 7, and the final order was given to evacuate the site around the building. 395, 396 The order terminated the ongoing rescue operations at WTC 6 and on the rubble pile of WTC 1. Firefighters and other emergency responders were withdrawn from the WTC 7 area, and the building continued to burn. At approximately 5:20 p.m., some three hours after WTC 7 was abandoned the building experienced a catastrophic failure and collapsed.

390 FDNY Interview 26, winter 2004.
391 FDNY Interview 3, winter 2004.
392 FDNY interview 14, winter 2004.
393 FDNY Interview 3, winter 2004.
394 FDNY Interview 14, winter 2004.
395 FDNY Interview 3, winter 2004.
396 FDNY interview 14, winter 2004.

The Emergency Response Operations
Page 111

In addition, a number of other testimonies report that firefighters were in reasonably close proximity to WTC7 until very near to the time it collapsed, and they also had to be pulled back:

The most important operational decision to be made that afternoon was the collapse had damaged 7 World Trade Center, which is about a 50 story building, at Vesey between West Broadway and Washington Street. It had very heavy fire on many floors and I ordered the evacuation of an area sufficient around to protect our members, so we had to give up some rescue operations that were going on at the time and back the people away far enough so that if 7 World Trade did collapse, we wouldnít lose any more people.

Then we found out, I guess around 3:00 o' clock, that they thought 7 was going to collapse. So, of course, we've got guys all in this pile over here and the main concern was get everybody out, and I guess it took us over an hour and a half, two hours to get everybody out of there...

This whole pile was burning like crazy. Just the heat and the smoke from all the other buildings on fire, you couldnít see anything. So it took us a while and we ended up backing everybody out, and that ís when 7 collapsed.

...the stream was even good enough to almost reach Tower 7. And then what happened was, we heard this rumbling sound and my father pulled us all back and then with that Tower 7 came down. We were still operating the satellite at that point. We ran. It really didn’t come up to where the satellite was, but it came close enough.

Firehouse: Chief Nigro said they made a collapse zone and wanted everybody away from number 7— did you have to get all of those people out?
Hayden: Yeah, we had to pull everybody back. It was very difficult. We had to be very forceful in getting the guys out. They didn’t want to come out. There were guys going into areas that I wasn’t even really comfortable with, because of the possibility of secondary collapses. We didn’t know how stable any of this area was. We pulled everybody back probably by 3 or 3:30 in the afternoon. We said, this building is going to come down, get back. It came down about 5 o’clock or so, but we had everybody backed away by then.

I walked out and I got to Vesey and West, where I reported to Frank. He said, we’re moving the command post over this way, that building’s coming down. At this point, the fire was going virtually on every floor, heavy fire and smoke that really wasn’t bothering us when we were searching because it was being pushed southeast and we were a little bit west of that. I remember standing just where West and Vesey start to rise toward the entrance we were using in the World Financial Center. There were a couple of guys standing with me and a couple of guys right at the intersection, and we were trying to back them up – and here goes 7. It started to come down and now people were starting to run.

But can we trust these testimonies? Some appear to suggest not, pointing to the account of Indira Singh: noon or one o’clock, they told us we had to move from that triage site, up to Pace University a little further away, because Building 7 was gonna come down, or being brought down.

BF: Did they actually use the words brought down, and who was it that was telling you this?

IS: The Fire Department, the Fire Department, and they did use the word, we’re gonna have to bring it down. And, for us, there observing the nature of the devastation it made total sense to us that this was indeed a possibility.

Given the subsequent controversy over it, I don’t know. I’m not an engineer, all I know is that was my experience...

Singhs account appears to suggest widespread knowledge throughout the police and fire department of WTC7 being “brought down”. This is not something reflected in their testimonies, though. Are they all choosing to lie (or at least not speak out) for the benefit of the conspirators, despite the deaths of their colleagues earlier in the day? Does that seem likely to you? Or is it more plausible that Singhs version is simply incorrect?

There are questions about both sides of the issue, then, but overall, the explanation of “pull it” meaning “remove the firefighters” makes more sense to us. It means we don’t have to find explanations for why he said this on TV, for instance, or why the fire department would be involved in demolitions, and cover them up afterwards (or why we should take Silverstein at his word for “pull it”, then ignore everything else he says). 

But this is just our opinion, and there’s no reason that should carry any weight with you whatosever. So it’s business as usual: go follow and explore the reference links above, think about all sides of the argument and make your own mind up.


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