|The hijacked airplanes that struck the World Trade Center hit with such force that the resulting explosions blew the fireproofing off the steel columns, accelerating heat buildup and weakening the structural core -- contributing to the towers' eventual collapse. (File photo)|
BEIJING, April 6 (Xinhuanet) -- The fireproofing defect contributes to the collapse of New York World Trade Centre buildings in the September 11, 2001 terror attacks, according to a report issued Tuesday.
The process was hastened by fires outside that consumed the buildings' face and caused the exterior columns to bow in, according to the report.
Still, the study by the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) concluded that no amount of fireproofing could have saved the buildings.
NIST also said that the average survivor took more than double the estimated time to descend emergency stairwells, and that better communication between emergency services could have saved more lives.
Shyam Sunder, who led NIST's fire and safety investigation, said yesterday there were now better ways to ensure that fireproofing adhered to steel.
"Even with the airplane impact and jet-fuel-ignited multi-floor fires, which are not normal building fires, the buildings would likely not have collapsed had it not been for the fireproofing that had been dislodged," he said.
The official World Trade Centre death toll of 911 stands at 2,749, including those killed on the two jets that hijackers crashed into the buildings.
New York was, in fact, fortunate that the attacks took place in the morning, when most people had not yet reached their offices. If the building had been fully occupied, the report found, a full evacuation would have taken four hours and cost 14,000 lives. Enditem