Chris Mohr at Skeptic magazine writes that “conspiracists are working hard to publicize their claims of scientific validity to the conjecture that the World Trade Center buildings were destroyed through controlled demolition.” He mentions a debate he had with Richard Gage, the founder of Architects & Engineers for 9/11 Truth, where more than 1,500 professional architects and engineers who question the official explanation for the collapse of the three World Trade Center buildings have signed a petition calling for a new—that is to say a real—investigation. “I thought initially that Gage might be on to something,” Mohr writes, “until I examined his science carefully” and debated him. In his article, he lists his responses to the controlled-demolition hypothesis. Sticking to the question of World Trade Center Building 7 (WTC 7), let’s examine Mohr’s arguments against the science behind the controlled-demolition hypothesis and in favor of the fire-induced collapse hypothesis. If you’re unfamiliar with WTC 7, you can watch it collapsing on 9/11 in the video below.

Mohr begins his case with the argument that “You cannot secretly prepare a controlled demolition of the two World Trade Center buildings … without anyone noticing anything unusual.” He does not mention it, but we may presume he thinks it would be just as impossible in the case of WTC 7, the third WTC building to collapse completely on 9/11. The main point to be made about this assertion is that it is not a scientific argument, but speculation. It for starters assumes that nobody noticed anything unusual in the days, weeks, and months before 9/11. But is that true? Since this possibility was never actually investigated, and thus building workers were never interviewed and asked whether they noticed any suspicious activity going on, we don’t really know. Also, while it may seem unlikely that this could be done, if the actual scientific evidence disproves the fire-induced collapse hypothesis and proves the alternative, then one has a priori knowledge that however unlikely, this must have occurred. So we must turn to the science, which Mohr does get to, eventually, as we shall see.

Mohr writes, “Though it is true that no tall steel frame buildings ever collapsed due to fire alone prior to 9/11, since then, other tall steel framed buildings have.” He is referring, of course, to WTC 7, which wasn’t hit by a plane. It did suffer significant debris impact damage from the collapse of the North Tower, but the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST), the government agency responsible for the investigation into the building’s collapse, acknowledged that the damage was neither an initiating nor determinative factor in the collapse. As the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) noted in its initial report, “Prior to September 11, 2001, there was little, if any, record of fire-induced collapse of large fire-protected steel buildings.” Following up on FEMA’s preliminary investigation, NIST noted in its final report that the collapse of WTC 7 “was the first known instance of the total collapse of a tall building primarily due to fires.” Richard Gage has observed that in every instance where a tall building (that is, a steel-framed skyscraper) has collapsed with characteristics like those of WTC 7, it was a known controlled demolition.

But Mohr says that it has since occurred that “other tall steel framed buildings have” “collapsed due to fire alone”. His example? “On May 13, 2008, a large part of the tall concrete-reinforced steel architecture tower at the Delft University of Technology in the Netherlands caught fire and thereafter had a very fast, nearly straight-down collapse mostly into its own footprint.” The first problem with Mohr’s example is that a reinforced concrete building is not a steel-framed building. Mohr is obviously unaware of the distinction between a building constructed with steel columns and beams (steel-framed) and a building constructed with concrete poured around reinforcing steel, or rebar (reinforced concrete). But let’s have a closer look, anyways, just for fun. Below is an image from the FEMA report showing what WTC 7 looked like after its collapse.

WTC 7 debris (FEMA)A 47-story, steel-framed building collapsed completely and mostly into its own footprint. Now here’s what the 13-story reinforced-concrete Faculty of Architecture building at Delft University looked like before it caught fire.

Faculty of ArchitectureAnd here is what it looked like after what Mohr describes as its “very fast, nearly straight-down collapse mostly into its own footprint”.

Faculty of Architecture CollapseThe first thing you just might possibly have noticed, if you were paying close attention, is that most of the building actually remained standing. The attentive viewer may have picked up on the fact that this doesn’t at all resemble the debris pile of WTC 7. So, to review Mohr’s record on this count, he falsely claims the Faculty of Architecture building was a steel-framed building before stating, oblivious to the distinction, that it was actually not. And then, by implication and by omission, he would have his readers believe the Faculty of Architecture building, like WTC 7, had collapsed completely and into its own footprint, when in it was just a partial collapse and most of the building remained standing. While Mohr asserted that “other tall steel framed buildings”, plural, have since collapsed from fire, presuming this is his best example—or non-example, rather—we may dismiss his false claim and move on. It remains true that this had never happened before 9/11, and it has never happened since.