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At 5:20 PM, September 11th, 2001, a 47 story steel frame skyscraper in Manhattan underwent a swift, systematic, straight-down collapse. In a matter of seconds, the immense 600-foot tall structure was transformed into a small pile of rubble lying almost entirely within the building's original footprint.

The building is variously known as Building 7 , WTC 7, or 7 World Trade Center. Despite its address, it was across the street from the superblock containing the rest of the World Trade Center, and was of a different architectural style and age than the 6 other WTC buildings.

The cause of the collapse has never been determined. FEMA's Building Performance Study , the only government document that addressed the collapse of Building 7 in any detail, stated:

The specifics of the fires in WTC 7 and how they caused the building to collapse remain unknown at this time. ... Further research, investigation, and analyses are needed to resolve this issue.
By the time FEMA's report was published, the remains of Building 7 had been almost entirely destroyed, nearly all of the structural steel having been expeditiously removed and shipped to blast furnaces overseas. Without the physical evidence of the structural steel, such research, investigation, and analyses would be impossible.

The Collapse of Building 7 was the third largest structural failure in World history, surpassed only by the collapses of the Twin Towers earlier that day. Fires are blamed for leveling Building 7, but fires have never caused the total or even partial collapse of a steel-frame highrise, before or since September 11th. Why, then, was there no serious investigation of the collapse of this building, and why does it remain virtually unknown to the American public?

page last modified: 2006-09-22
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