World Trade Center 7 mystery 'solved'?
Stephen C. Webster
Published: Saturday July 5, 2008

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A new report by BBC 2's "Conspiracy Files" claims that the US National Institute of Standards and Technology is preparing to release a long awaited report on the collapse of World Trade Center 7, which fell on Sept. 11, 2001, about seven hours after WTC 1 and 2 were downed.

The NIST investigators are widely expected to stake the claim that fires were responsible for causing the structure's simultaneous column failure, bringing building 7 down at near free fall speed onto its footprint. Should the claims hold true, WTC 7 would be the first steel frame skyscraper to ever collapse due to fire damage.

The BBC, while focusing on the details of NIST's upcoming report, goes to some lengths to balance its revelation with comments by Richard Gage, founder of the group Architects and Engineers for 9/11 Truth.

"Building Seven is the smoking gun of 9/11" states Gage. "A sixth grader can look at this building falling at virtually freefall speed, symmetrically and smoothly, and see that it is not a natural process. Buildings that fall in natural processes fall to the path of least resistance, they don't go straight down through themselves."

9/11 Truth proponents argue that a symmetrical collapse, not just in WTC 7, but also WTC 1 and 2, is impossible without the presence of coordinated explosives. While some purport theories of what 'really' happened, others merely lob questions which have a tendency to make politicians uncomfortable.

The BBC as well is no stranger to the scrutiny of 9/11 Truth activists. On the evening of Sept. 11, 2001, the BBC reported that WTC 7 had collapsed some 26 minutes before it actually fell. Video footage of the report clearly shows the tower in the background, behind Jane Standley, the network's correspondent, as she speaks of its demise. Before her report was complete, the news anchor lost the feed from New York. BBC editor Richard Porter vehemently denies the channel was part of any conspiracy.

Watch the BBC report on WTC 7:

"We've been at this for a little over two years and doing a two or two and a half year investigation is not at all unusual," said Dr. Shyam Sunder, head of NIST's investigation into WTC 7, as reported by the BBC. "That's the same kind of time frame that takes place when we do aeroplane crash investigations, it takes a few years."

The NIST study is based heavily on computer models and scenarios simulated in a virtual environment, namely due to the lack of physical evidence to study. In the wake of the 9/11 attacks, steel from all three WTC towers was almost immediately taken to be melted down, and none was preserved for investigation.

"It's a very complex problem," BBC quotes Dr. Sunder as stating. "It requires a level of fidelity in the modelling and rigour in the analysis that has never been done before."

The report, says BBC, will claim the building collapsed under its own weight after fires burned so hot for so long that the floor beams' connections to the support columns broke off. Firefighters were not able to focus on the WTC 7 fires due to lack of water, the report states, and their primary focus on saving as many lives as possible.

In 2002, the Federal Emergency Management Agency reported its conclusion that fires and diesel fuel reserve tanks within the building -- which housed numerous government agencies such as the Central Intelligence Agency, Securities and Exchange Commission, Department of Defense, Office of Emergency Management and Secret Service -- were to blame for the collapse. However, FEMA noted that this theory has "only a low probability of occurrence."

In June 2007, NIST said it expected to release its draft report on WTC 7 for public comment 'by the end of the year.' It was not released, and the BBC article makes no mention of when the report is due out.