Firefighter Mag Raps 9/11 Probe

by Joe Calderone
New York Daily News
January 4, 2002



A respected firefighting trade magazine with ties to the city Fire Department is calling for a "full-throttle, fully-resourced" investigation into the collapse of the World Trade Center.

A signed editorial in the January issue of Fire Engineering magazine says the current investigation is "a half-baked farce."

The piece by Bill Manning, editor of the 125-year-old monthly that frequently publishes technical studies of major fires, also says the steel from the site should be preserved so investigators can examine what caused the collapse.

"Did they throw away the locked doors from the Triangle Shirtwaist fire? Did they throw away the gas can used at the Happy Land social club fire? ... That's what they're doing at the World Trade Center," the editorial says. "The destruction and removal of evidence must stop immediately."

Fire Engineering counted FDNY Deputy Chief Raymond Downey, the department's chief structural expert, among its senior advisers. Downey was killed in the Sept. 11 attack.

John Jay College's fire engineering expert, Prof. Glenn Corbett, serves as the magazine's technical editor.

A group of engineers from the American Society of Civil Engineers, with backing from the Federal Emergency Management Agency, has been studying some aspects of the collapse. But Manning and others say that probe has not looked at all aspects of the disaster and has had limited access to documents and other evidence.

A growing number of fire protection engineers have theorized that "the structural damage from the planes and the explosive ignition of jet fuel in themselves were not enough to bring down the towers," the editorial stated.

A FEMA spokesman, John Czwartacki, said agency officials had not yet seen the editorial and declined to comment.

Norida Torriente, a spokeswoman for the American Society of Civil Engineers, described her group's study as a "beginning" and "not a definitive work."

Sen. Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) has joined a group of relatives of firefighters who died in the attack in calling for a blue-ribbon panel to study the collapse.

"We have to learn from incidents through investigation to determine what types of codes should be in place and what are the best practices for high-rise construction," Manning told the Daily News. "The World Trade Center is not the only lightweight, core construction high-rise in the U.S. It's a typical method of construction."

 

Copyright 2002

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