A WTC7 explosion video
YouTube is packed with videos claiming to show evidence of controlled demolition at WTC7. This YouTube clip is typical (also here}, using the title of "WTC 7 Explosion on Audio (heard by firemen)" and adding the comment "This is a quick clip that has the audio of an explosion going off at WTC 7 before it collapses. It surprises a group of firemen trying to call their wives after the Towers already came down."
Some people simply take the assertions about this video on faith, but we think it's sensible to ask a few questions, first.
Where did this video come from, for instance?
Is the sound of the explosion genuine?
Where was it taken?
When was it taken?
Where is the evidence that this was an "explosion at WTC 7"?
Let's see if there are any answers to be found.
Tracking down the source of this clip proved very difficult. Even the people posting it on YouTube didn't seem to know. But then gumboot, a member at the JREF forums, posted what he'd managed to uncover:
This seemed like a major step forward, until we looked further. And then it turned out that "9/11: Stories from the City" wasn't available on DVD, YouTube, Google videos, torrents, Usenet or anywhere else. Our investigations remained stalled until 2008, when we finally found a downloadable version of the documentary. This was far from ideal, being a Hungarian version with their own voiceover: the original volume is dropped considerably, which makes it hard to tell if the explosion sound is the same. Still, at least we could see when the documentary placed the explosion as occurring.
The sequence of events presented here places the explosion as between 10:15 and 10:28, then. That's many hours before WTC7 would collapse, and there's no reason provided to tie this explosion to WTC7 (or any other event, actually).
It could still be argued that the documentary editors made a mistake. They're piecing together clips from many different sources, after all - we can't rely on its placement here alone as a definitive guide to when it was filmed. But fortunately we don't have to. Another analysis not only gives a similar time, but also tells us where the firefighters were standing.
In January 2009 JREF forum member WilliamSeger posted a very helpful analysis of this video.
Estimating sun positions from shadows on grainy videos is never going to be an exact science, but WilliamSeger's 10:20 to 10:50 timeframe is a strikingly good match for the "9/11: Stories from the City" placement of 10:15 to 10:28.
The firefighter's location isn't too far from WTC7. If a bomb were to go off in the building then it's reasonable to believe they would hear it. But there are many problems with that theory.
We don't know that the sound in the original clip is entirely genuine, for instance.
We don't know that it was caused by any kind of explosive device.
We've seen no evidence to show that the sound originated in or near WTC7.
If the sound did occur around 7 hours before WTC7 collapsed, as the evidence suggests, then there's no obvious reason why we should make a connection between those two events.
While there are pictures of damage to WTC7, there's nothing we can clearly attribute to a bomb, rather than fire or the impact of debris from the collapsing WTC. And photos showing many unbroken windows also shows the inside of the building didn't suffer the kind of overpressures you'd expect from a large bomb (although windows broken and damage caused by WTC debris would reduce that effect):
Broken windows seem to follow the fire only.
What's more, those who favour the WTC7 demolition theory have for years argued that the building did not suffer serious damage early in the day, firefighters reports saying otherwise are inaccurate, and that structural damage couldn't alone have been responsible for the final collapse, anyway. Which clearly doesn't fit at all with the idea that bombs were used before 11 AM to weaken the building's structure (assuming that was the motive).
The idea that this clip contains the sound of a bomb going off in or near WTC7 isn't supported by the evidence, then, and we've yet to find anyone who can explain how it fits in with the supposed controlled demolition of the building. Without more information it's hard to see how this clip has any relevance to WTC7 at all.