Fire Engineering
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The story...

The editor of Fire Engineering wrote an editorial called "Selling out the investigation" where he said "The structural damage from the planes and the explosive ignition of jet fuel in themselves were not enough to bring down the towers". This quote has been used in a variety of places: here’s one.

Although the recent 9/11 Commission report adopted the official story that burning jet fuel caused the ultimate demise of the WTC, Manning said respected members of the fire protection community have drawn other conclusions.

"Red flags have been raised and a theory has emerged that the damage from the planes and the explosive ignition of jet fuel was not enough to bring down the towers," said Manning. "Based on the incident's magnitude alone, s full throttle, fully researched forensic investigation is imperative, but that is impossible now since the government conveniently discarded the evidence."

Our take...

This article was scathing about the investigation, it’s true, but you might want to bear in mind when it was written. The context of the above quote might suggest it was after the 9/11 Commission Report, but in reality it appeared in January 2002, so Manning was talking about FEMA (and months before their report appeared). A readers letter a few issues later took issue with Mannings comments. And Manning subsequently wrote an editorial welcoming the news of the NIST investigation, which reads a little differently.

Also the quote alone can be misleading. It might seem Manning is saying fire could not bring down the towers at all, but that isn’t the case. Here’s the full paragraph, and please follow the link to read the complete article before you continue

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.

Subsequent Fire Engineering articles shed some light on the magazines position. They ran a detailed report later supporting the “fire-induced” claim (, for instance. And In 2003 they produced an article suggesting that the collapse was in part due to overly-relaxed building codes.

The Towers, Fire-Induced Collapse and the Building Codes

Scheurman explains that the buildings' failures were in part due to fire codes that had been too far relaxed when the city of New York revised them in 1968. " The city is presently in the process of upgrading the Building Codes in the wake or the World Trade Center disaster, and this essay is my perspective, as a retired NYC Fire Chief, in furtherance of that process," writes Scheurman.

His report concludes with, " The World Trade Center's vulnerability to fire, as confirmed by the fire spread and mode of collapse, is partially the result of the building industry's competition for, real estate dominance and financial reward, affecting the building codes over the years. The Port Authority of New York, New Jersey using corporate and public bond financing and the governmental power of the two-state agency to sidestep the already weakened, city building code requirements effectively reduced the fire resistance and suppression capabilities and collapse resistance, in the Towers. The Government should disqualify itself from competing in the real estate industry and concentrate on regulating the competition between developers to assure fire safe building construction standards and the life safety of the people. The actual fire is the ultimate test of codes and construction practices and at the World Trade Center Towers, failed the test twice."

And a later editorial shows the true focus point for Mannings anger, post the release of the 9/11 Commission Report (again, please follow the link to read the full article).


In early August it was revealed by New York Newsday that New York City Mayor Michael Bloomberg, a month before the final 9/11 Commission Report, dispatched a strong memo lobbying the Commission for language that would cast a more favorable light on the city—and, by extension, on city management, past and present. With respect to the hottest hot-button issues surrounding the 9/11 response—radio inoperability, lack of police-fire cooperation and coordination, and the city's poor excuse for a new, "integrated" incident management system—Bloomberg's wish was granted. The Commission's final report coats the three issues with a layer of political honey.

City management had almost three years to circle the wagons to deflect obvious ineptitude and irresponsibility for which it could and should have been held accountable. Capitalizing on an accommodating and docile press, they've controlled critical information, dismissed many concerns of 9/11 families/survivors groups as grief-driven hysteria, and, with great cunning, used the firefighters who perished in the Towers for political cover...

Yes, he thinks there was a cover-up, but not of the type suggested on most 9/11 sites. Manning’s saying it’s down to politicians covering up their responsibility in terms of the emergency services response to the events, the failure of firefighters radios to carry the vital evacuate order, and so on. A point worth bearing in mind, especially with sites that use the “damage from the planes and the explosive ignition of jet fuel was not enough” quote without any context.

NOTE: a previous version of this page addressed specific Manning quotes used by Professor Jones in his paper, “Why indeed did the WTC buildings collapse?”. Subsequently the paper was edited, addressing our comments, therefore we’ve now removed them. As there are links pointing to this page then the relevant parts will be archived here, for the moment at least, but are no longer valid for the current paper.

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