CNN: Conspiracy theorists 'not swayed' by WTC7 explanation
David Edwards and Stephen C. Webster
Published: Friday August 22, 2008

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What really happened at 7 W.T.C. on Sept. 11, 2001? Government investigators say they know the truth.

Fires, and not controlled demolition, caused the collapse of the tower, claims a new report from the National Institute of Standards and Technology. The institute, a federal scientific agency which promotes technical industrial standards, is the first government agency to present an all-encompassing theory of the building's demise.

But that theory is being met with consternation among those who believe something more sinister was afoot on 9/11.

"It has been a mystery since 9/11," said CNN's Deborah Feyerick in a Friday report. "Why did World Trade Center building seven collapse nearly seven hours after the twin towers fell?

"Was it diesel fuel in the building? Or planted explosives, a controlled demolition of government offices as conspiracy theorists allege in films like Loose Change?"

No, says Dr. Shyam Sunder, who directed NIST's team of researchers in the investigation. Fire triggered a "new phenomenon" -- thermal expansion of structural steel, which caused a cascade of collapsing floors, ultimately bringing the building down symmetrically, into its own footprint.

"This is the first time that we're aware of, that a building over 15 stories tall has collapsed primarilly due to fire," said Dr. Sunder during Thursday's NIST press conference. Had the city's water main not been cut, and WTC 7's sprinkler systems been active, the building may still stand, he said.

Still, said CNN, conspiracy theorists are "not swayed" by the report, though the news channel failed to provide any reason why some still cling to differing opinions of WTC 7's collapse.

Richard Gage, founder of the activist group Architects & Engineers for 9/11 Truth, is chief among those promoting alternatives to the fire theory.

"Tons of [molten metal] was found 21 days after the attack," said Gage in an interview with a Vancouver, Canada television station. "Steel doesn't begin to melt until 2,700 degrees, which is much hotter than what these fires could have caused."

His group has membership of over 400 architectural and engineering professionals, who say that they have the science to back up their claims. They argue thermite, a steel cutting agent used by the military and controlled demolitions companies, was responsible for bringing the building down.

"FEMA found it," said Gage during a press conference on Thursday. "Dr. Steven Jones found it, in the dust that landed in the entire area of lower Manhattan. And he finds it in the chunks of previously molten metal [from the towers]."

"Investigators said they did consider certain so-called 'conspiracy theories,' reported CNN. "But none held up."

"Alternative theories are, really, none of them have been found to be credible," said NIST's Dr. Sunder.

Glenn Corbin, a fire expert interviewed by CNN, said he believes the most important thing to take away from the NIST report are means of making skyscrapers safer.

This video is from CNN's American Morning, broadcast August 22, 2008.

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