MOLTEN METAL and FIRE BURNING FOR 3 MONTHS
New York Daily:
Fire May Smolder for Months
By GREG GITTRICH
Daily News Staff Writer
Girders of red-hot steel driven as many as six stories below ground by the collapse of the World Trade Center are fueling an underground blaze that threatens to smolder and cough up smoke for months.
The unprecedented structural fire does not have enough oxygen to rapidly devour its enormous fuel supply — desks, carpets, computers, paper, cars and other combustible material contained in and under the 110-story twin towers, experts say.
“So what you’ve got is a smoldering situation,” said George Miller, president of the National Association of State Fire Marshals. “Judging from my 32 years of experience, this could burn for a long time.”
Exactly how long “a long time” is, no one knows for sure. But fire engineers and safety experts told the Daily News that the blaze likely will continue burning for months — until most of the 1.2 million tons of debris are hauled away.
A fire needs three things to survive: fuel, oxygen and a heat source
“If you can break that formula in any way, it will go out,” said Marko Bourne, a spokesman for the fire administration of the Federal Emergency Management Agency. “The problem is how to do that with this fire.”
While the blaze is starved for oxygen, the scalding steel buried below ground will retain its heat until enough air reaches it or water douses it, said Don Carson, a hazardous materials expert for the National Operating Engineers Union.
The jets that exploded into the towers showered them with gallons of jet fuel and raised the temperature of the structural beams to about 2,000 degrees.
“There are pieces of steel being pulled out that are still cherry red,” Carson said as he stood amid the smoking debris this week. “It’s like the charcoal that you put in your grill. … You light it and it stays hot.”
Firefighters continue to soak the ravaged 17-acre area with water, but the heavy streams seep only so far into the layered debris.
As chunks of steel and concrete are raised by excavation machines, the city’s Bravest wet the exposed areas and extinguish flames that erupt from crevices when oxygen rushes in.
“We will put it out,” said a Bronx firefighter. “It’s just a matter of time.”
The Fire Department has yet to declare the blaze under control.
No blaze like it Bourne said the blaze is so “far beyond a normal fire” that it is nearly impossible to draw conclusions about it based on other fires. While it is not unusual for underground fires to smolder for long periods of time, these usually occur in landfills or coal mines. Several mines in Pennsylvania and Canada have been burning for decades.
The classic example cited by experts is a strip mine in Centralia, Pa., that ignited in 1962 and continues to burn. Forest fires also can rage for months. But Don Smurthwaite of the National Interagency Fire Center said not to come to him for answers to the Ground Zero blaze. “We can always count on that season-ending event – rain or snow – to take care of the fire,” Smurthwaite said. “The fires in the World Trade Center are entirely different. All the fuel they need is right there.”
GRAPHIC: FIRE BELOW GROUND ZERO Hot metal debris as much as six stories below ground fuels a smoldering fire that may last for months. As cranes remove twisted rubble, oxygen pours in and reignites the red hot mass.
Molten steel at the South Tower
Here is what he wrote to me today at 10:38 PST:
I didn’t personally see molten steel at the World Trade Center site. It was reported to me by contractors we had been working with. Molten steel was encountered primarily during excavation of debris around the South Tower when large hydraulic excavators were digging trenches 2 to 4 meters deep into the compacted/burning debris pile. There are both video tape and still photos of the molten steel being “dipped” out by the buckets of excavators. I’m not sure where you can get a copy.
Sorry I cannot provide personal confirmation.
Mark Loizeaux, President
CONTROLLED DEMOLITION, INC.
2737 Merryman’s Mill Road
Phoenix, Maryland USA 21131
Red hot molten steel running down columns of WTC 6
RICH GARLOCK: Going below, it was smoky and really hot. We had rescue teams with meters for oxygen and carbon dioxide. They also had temperature monitors. Here WTC 6 is over my head. The debris past the columns was red-hot, molten, running.
[Richard Garlock, 34, a structural engineer at Leslie E. Robertson Associates (LERA).]
Molten metal dripping down the walls of WTC 6
Statement of Ken Holden to the National Commission on Terrorist Attacks Upon the United States
April 1, 2003
Good afternoon Chairman Kean, Vice-Chair Hamilton and Members of the Commission. My name is Kenneth Holden and I am the Commissioner of the New York City Department of Design and Construction …
At approximately 5:00 that evening, I conducted a walkthrough with several engineers and construction managers …
Quick, but safe decisions regarding where to put the cranes had to be made, inspection of the slurry wall and water in the basement were conducted, while numerous fires were still burning and smoldering. Underground it was still so hot that molten metal dripped down the sides of the wall from Building 6. Cars – both burned and pristine – were suspended in the air balanced on cracked parking garage slabs.
Recovery worker reflects on months spent at Ground Zero
But by the time O’Toole started working at Ground Zero full time in January, heavy equipment was being used to haul away wreckage. Before a truck could leave to take its load to a barge, bound for the Fresh Kills landfill in Staten Island, the cargo would be placed in a “rake field” where firefighters worked like archeologists, searching for fragments of bones.
At the site, O’Toole’s job has mostly involved handling logistics _ taking water to fellow workers, shuttling tools back and forth, getting more lights on rake fields. “I’ve done everything down here,” O’Toole said. “I’ve been a tour guide, funeral director, counselor, exhumer.”
Underground fires raged for months. O’Toole remembers in February seeing a crane lift a steel beam vertically from deep within the catacombs of Ground Zero. “It was dripping from the molten steel,” he said.
Serendipity – AFP – Seismic Evidence Points to Underground Explosions Causing WTC Collapse
By Christopher Bollyn
American Free Press
Peter Tully, president of Tully Construction of Flushing, New York, told AFP that he saw pools of “literally molten steel” at the World Trade Center. Tully was contracted on September 11 to remove the debris from the site.
Loizeaux, who cleaned up the bombed Federal Building in Oklahoma City, arrived on the WTC site two days later and wrote the clean-up plan for the entire operation.
AFP asked Loizeaux about the report of molten steel on the site. “Yes,” he said, “hot spots of molten steel in the basements.” These incredibly hot areas were found “at the bottoms of the elevator shafts of the main towers, down seven [basement] levels,” Loizeaux said [as reported to him by contractors – see email]. The molten steel was found “three, four, and five weeks later, when the rubble was being removed,” Loizeaux said. He said molten steel was also found at 7 WTC, which collapsed mysteriously in the late afternoon.
However, Clark doesn’t know how deep into the pile AVIRIS (Airborne Visible/Infrared Imaging Spectrometer remote sensing ) could see. The infrared data certainly revealed surface temperatures, yet the smoldering piles below the surface may have remained at much higher temperatures. “In mid-October, in the evening,” said Thomas A. Cahill, a retired professor of physics and atmospheric science at the University of California, Davis, “when they would pull out a steel beam, the lower part would be glowing dull red, which indicates a temperature on the order of 500 to 600 °C. And we know that people were turning over pieces of concrete in December that would flash into fire–which requires about 300 °C. So the surface of the pile cooled rather rapidly, but the bulk of the pile stayed hot all the way to December.”
With the collapse of New York City’s two World Trade Center (WTC) towers on Sept. 11, 2001, more than 1 million tons of dust enveloped lower Manhattan. And fires that lingered at ground zero until December created a plume of smoke initially detectable from space.
PLUMES OF SMOKE Fallout dust from the collapse of the WTC towers was composed mainly of construction materials. NYPD PHOTO
My name is Frank Silecchia. I am one of the many WTC Ground Zero workers who was devastated by what I saw and encountered after the Twin Towers collasped.
2 months later, molten steel
Red-hot, semi-molten metal pulled from the base of WTC building 7 in late October, 6 full weeks after it collapsed, (no plane collided with it, and it was still standing unscathed hours after the twin towers had already collapsed). Arsenalofhypocrisy.com
New Scientist – Ground Zero’s fires still burning
by Jonathan Beard, New York
Almost 12 weeks after the terrorist atrocity at New York’s World Trade Center, there is at least one fire still burning in the rubble – it is the longest-burning structural fire in history.
Deputy Chief Charles Blaich of the New York City Fire Department would not predict when the last fire might be extinguished. NewScientist
CBS – WTC Fires All But Defeated
NEW YORK, Dec. 19, 2001
(CBS) Firefighters have extinguished almost all but the last remnants of underground fires that have burned at the World Trade Center site for more than three months since the Sept. 11 terrorist attack.
“Just in the last week the fires have actually been put out,” Gov. George Pataki told a group of about 50 upstate elected officials during a tour of the disaster site on Wednesday.
Battalion Chief Brian Dixon confirmed later Wednesday that the main bodies of fire have been extinguished, although he said small pockets or “hot spots” are still being discovered …
The fires that began with the Sept. 11 attacks had been strong enough that firetrucks had to spray a nearly constant jet of water on them. At times, the flames slowed the work of clearing the site.
“You couldn’t even begin to imagine how much water was pumped in there,” said Tom Manley of the Uniformed Firefighters Association, the largest fire department union. “It was like you were creating a giant lake.” CBSnews
New York visit reveals extent of WTC disaster [molten metal still red hot weeks after the event]
Source: Structural Times (defunct)
Published: Sep 3, 2002
The Ground Zero site where the World Trade Center towers once stood was the focus of the visit by Prof. David Blockley and Dr Keith Eaton to New York, on the first leg of their North American tour. They discussed developments on the site with Pablo Lopez and Andrew Pontecorvo of Mueser Rutledge.
Dr Eaton said: ‘We were given a fascinating insight into what had been happening at the site. Our hosts, under the firm’s principal engineer George Tamaro (F), had been constantly involved at Ground Zero for several months. They had been called in as foundation engineers within a week of 11 September, and had spent several months examining the stability of the debris and the diaphragm wall all around the site, commonly known as the “bathtub” They had been key individuals in advising on the excavation of the site, with a great deal of care being needed before debris could be removed in order to maintain the stability of the original slurry walls.
‘They showed us many fascinating slides’ he continued, ‘ranging from molten metal which was still red hot weeks after the event, to 4-inch thick steel plates sheared and bent in the disaster’. libertypost
“STEEL MEMBERS HAVE BEEN PARTLY EVAPORATED”
Engineers Suspect Diesel Fuel in Collapse of 7 World Trade Center
By JAMES GLANZ
New York Times, November 29, 2001
Almost lost in the chaos of the collapse of the World Trade Center is a mystery that under normal circumstances would probably have captured the attention of the city and the world. That mystery is the collapse of a nearby 47-story, two-million-square-foot building seven hours after flaming debris from the towers rained down on it, igniting what became an out-of-control fire.
Engineers and other experts, who quickly came to understand how hurtling airplanes and burning jet fuel had helped bring down the main towers, were for weeks still stunned by what had happened to 7 World Trade Center …
In many ways, 7 World Trade Center, built and owned by Silverstein Properties, was structurally similar to its towering cousins across Vesey Street to the south. The weight of the building was supported by a relatively tight cluster of steel columns around the center of each floor and a palisade of columns around the outside, in the building’s facade.
Sprayed on the steel, almost like imitation snow in holiday decorations, was a layer of fireproofing material, generally less than an inch thick …
A combination of an uncontrolled fire and the structural damage might have been able to bring the building down, some engineers said. But that would not explain steel members in the debris pile that appear to have been partly evaporated in extraordinarily high temperatures, Dr. Barnett said.
Video: Molten steel like lava
VIDEO: Lava-like molten steel at Ground Zero Dailymotion
“You get down below and you would see molten steel, molten steel running down the channel rims, like you’re in a foundry .. like lava.”
Video: Forklift picking up sizzling hot metal
VIDEO: Ground_zero_red_hot Dailymotion
“This is how it’s been since Day 1. It’s unbelievable, and this is 6 weeks later, or almost 6 weeks later. And as we get closer to the the center of this, it gets hotter and hotter, it’s probably 1500 degrees. We’ve had some small window into what we thought was the [..] point, it looked like an oven, you know, it was just boiling inside. It’s bright bright reddish orange color … See that stuff he’s pulling out? We’ve got to hold off on the water – see that stuff he’s pulling out? It’s red-hot. If we hit it – too much steam and you won’t be able to see what he’s doing.”
Video: Boots melt in a few hours
VIDEO: Wtc_heat Dailymotion
Caption: “Out on the rubble it’s still, I believe, 1,100 degrees. The guys boots just melt within a few hours.”
Video: WTC meteorite
VIDEO: Wtc_meteorite Dailymotion
“Exposed to temperatures as hot as the inner earth ..” One of the more unusual artefacts to emerge from the rubble is this rock-like object which has come to be known as “the meteorite”. “This is a fused element of molten steel and concrete all fused by the heat into one single element.”
This meteorite formation is the compressed four storeys of the WTC. (At the JFK hangar)
Molten metal and heat at the WTC as reported by Governor Pataki
VIDEO: Moltenmetalpataki Dailymotion
Video of firemen and Gov. Pataki talking about the molten metal and heat at the WTC site.
Debris pile tremendously hot
The debris pile at Ground Zero was always tremendously hot. Thermal measurements taken by helicopter each day showed underground temperatures ranging from 400ºF to more than 2,800ºF. The surface was so hot that standing too long in one spot softened (and even melted) the soles of our safety shoes. Steel toes would often heat up and become intolerable. This heat was also a concern for the search-and-rescue dogs used at the site. Many were not outfitted with protective booties (Photo 13). More than one suffered serious injuries and at least three died while working at Ground Zero. The underground fire burned for exactly 100 days and was finally declared “extinguished” on Dec. 19, 2001.
Photo: Jeff Vincoli with Alex, one of the search-and-rescue dogs used at Ground Zero. Alex is wearing protective booties; many other dogs did not wear such gear.
H-beams and I-beams fused into strange shapes with concrete.
Photos show molten steel on the surface of the rubble later in the day on 9/11.