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Mystery behind third World Trade Center building that burned down on 9/11
Featured Image Credit: Sweeneyr/Wikimedia Commons/New York Office of Emergency Management

Mystery behind third World Trade Center building that burned down on 9/11

Often left unnoticed, the collapse of the World Trade Center's Building 7 has long been shrouded in mystery and the topic of much debate

In modern history, there are few images as vivid and horrifying as the Twin Towers collapsing on September 11, 2001 - the day one of the world's deadliest terrorist attacks unfolded.

But when we consider the chaos and devastation brought upon New York on that fateful day, which saw almost 3,000 people lose their lives, one building is often shrouded in obscurity — and that is World Trade Center 7.

Despite not being struck by an airplane, less than seven hours after the North and South Towers of the World Trade Center collapsed at 5.20 pm, Building 7 also crumbled to the ground.

Its collapse is largely forgotten by a society whose memories of 9/11 are largely centred on the attacks on the Twin Towers and the Pentagon.

However, decades later, its fate remains somewhat of an enigma.

Building 7 stood alongside the Twin Towers as part of the World Trade Center.
Pexels/Thomas Svensson

Before 9/11, the World Trade Center was a sprawling complex of skyscrapers in lower Manhattan's financial district.

While the Twin Towers, which held the distinction of being the tallest buildings in the world, were its most iconic fixtures, among the ensemble were a total of seven buildings.

Building 7 was a 47-story structure with an elevated walkway that spanned Vesey Street and linked it to the World Trade Center plaza.

Amongst other organisations, it was home to both the Secret Service and CIA offices, although a CIA spokesman declined to comment on the existence of the office, which was first reported by the New York Times back in 2001.

It's been said that the New York office was a base of operations to spy on and recruit foreign diplomats stationed at the United Nations while debriefing Americans returning from overseas.

9/11 saw almost 3,000 people lose their lives.
Spencer Platt/Getty Images

Sources have since said that intelligence officials lost a trove of secret documents and crucial intelligence reports stored at the station — either on paper or in computers — as a result of the building's collapse.

The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) released a report in August 2008, in which they claimed to have solved the mystery of Building 7's collapse.

According to the report, WTC 7 succumbed to the intense heat of uncontrollable fires ignited by debris from the nearby North Tower, which had collapsed earlier that day.

The heat from the uncontrolled fires caused steel floor beams and girders to thermally expand, leading to a chain of events that caused a key structural column to fail. This failure then initiated the progressive collapse of the entire building.

However, this explanation failed to satisfy a group of engineers and architects who have sought to find out the truth.

Building 7 collapsed hours after both the North and South Towers fell. Cedit: Jose Jimenez/Primera Hora/Getty Images
Building 7 collapsed hours after both the North and South Towers fell. Cedit: Jose Jimenez/Primera Hora/Getty Images

In 2020, the Architects & Engineers for 9/11 Truth (AE911T) - a coalition of more than 3,000 scientists, engineers and architects - filed a formal Request for Correction with NIST.

This was backed up by a comprehensive 4-year study conducted by a team at the University of Alaska Fairbanks (UAF) that suggests the collapse of Building 7 was a 'near-simultaneous failure of every column in the building'.

This directly contradicts NIST’s conclusion that fire weakened the steel supports, causing the building to collapse.

Moreover, AE911T insists that we don't dismiss the possibility of controlled demolition as a plausible cause.

And with that, the mystery surrounding WTC 7 remains unsolved and its controversy continues.

Topics: New York, US News, Terrorism