When we do outreach about the Twin Towers on 9/11, we frequently encounter people who say, "Of course the Twin Tower pancaked," or "I am not a structural engineer, so I can't make any judgments about what you are saying."
For those who will not address the physics, mechanics or forensic evidence relating to the destruction of the Twin Tower, the account of the dozen survivors from inside the North Tower – the so called "Miracle of Ladder 6" – is a very compelling story. It may not change anybody's viewpoint immediately, but it is so convincing that it will lead many to reconsider their understanding of the World Trade Center events.
The "Miracle of Ladder 6"is the story of a dozen members of FDNY, mostly from Ladder 6, who were in the fourth floor stairwell when the building was destroyed. After the destruction of the North Tower, when the smoke cleared, they looked up and saw "a beautiful blue sky above us" – not 106 stories of pancaked rubble.
In a photo taken two days after 9/11, remnants of two sides of the perimeter columns are seen to the east and north of the core columns. The remnant of the core columns where the fourth floor stairwell was located is at the center of the North Tower footprint. A limited amount of debris can be seen in the area of the former North Tower lobby. It is obvious that this debris is not enough to be 106 stories of structural materials and office contents.
If the destruction of the North Tower had been a gravity-only collapse (and the towers did not fall to one-side or the other), the straight-down force of gravity would have pulled the collapsing debris down into the lobby area. The absence of a massive pile of debris in the lobby is sufficient to rule out a gravity-only collapse – some other forces pushed the building material outward and in all directions away from the core columns where the elevator shafts were located.
A segment from the 2002 PBS Nova series, "Why the Tower Fell," features interviews with several of the survivors. This 2002 NOVA documentary was one of the first attempts to solidify the Official Story's false narrative of a gravity-only collapse subsequent to plane impact and fires.
- NARRATOR: There was now one terrible implication. If the South Tower had fallen, the North was likely to follow. An urgent message was radioed to all firemen in the building. The Ladder 6 team had reached the 27th floor when they got the word to evacuate immediately.
- MIKE MELDRUM: We heard someone yelling on the radio, "It's time to start back down now."
- MATT KOMOROWSKI: We are trained to go and save people and go into dangerous situations. And then when we're told to abandon our assignment, it's a very odd thing
- NARRATOR: By now, most of the people who could have gotten out of the burning tower had gotten out. The men of Ladder 6 had only made it down to the fourth floor when, at 10:28, the tower came down.
- MATT KOMOROWSKI: I felt an incredible rush of air at my back.
- SAL D'AGOSTINO (Ladder 6 Fire Crew): I remember hearing the boom, the boom. As the floors are pancaking, I'm hearing that.
- MIKE MELDRUM: It was like standing in between two heavy freight trains in a tunnel going by you.
- NARRATOR: Over 1,400 people died in the North Tower but somehow the Ladder 6 team survived.
- MIKE MELDRUM: I said, "Captain," I said, "there is a light above us." I thought it was somebody with a flash light. And I said, "What is it?" And he said, "Mick, there is a beautiful blue sky above us." And I said, "Captain, there is a 105-story building above us." He says, "No." He says, "I think we are the top of the World Trade Center right now."
- SAL D'AGOSTINO: Yeah.
These survivors were conscious throughout the event and recounted their story about the hours they spent trapped in a structurally intact pocket within the heart of the destruction.
The "Miracle of Ladder 6" is such a compelling story that it has gotten mainstream-media attention over the years. Not unsurprising, the implications of their survival were never pursued – such as what happened to the 106 floors above them? For example, an archived version of a September 28, 2001 NBC interview can be seen at: 9/11 Reasearch: The "Miracle of Ladder Company 6"The "Miracle of Ladder Company 6"
Sept. 28 — It is hard to speak of lucky breaks and happy endings in a tragedy of this magnitude. But there have been a few. This is a story about a group of New York firefighters caught inside one of the Twin Towers when it collapsed ...
- Tommy Falco: I just heard the rumbling and the shaking. And I imagine we got knocked down the stairs. And I just remember laying down and, OK, this is it, you know, what's it going to feel like. And I said, 'This is how it ends for me.'
- Sal D'Agostino: In the stairwell, after I got blown backwards and found my helmet, I said a Hail Mary ...
- Matt Komorowski: An hour or two into the whole thing, I started seeing light at my feet. And it was dim at first and then all of a sudden, a beam of light shone at my feet. And that was hope that the outside was still there.
The presence of these survivors in this NOVA presentation is all the more startling when the implications of the documentary's earlier segments strongly suggest that there should have been 106 stories of rubble on top of them. Their recounting of what they experienced and heard, and their survival, completely discredits the gravity-only collapse hypotheses described in the NOVA documentary – i.e., the lack of debris disproves the possibility of a "pancake" or "progressive" collapse in the North Tower.
If the tower did not collapse on top of the survivors, where did the structural material and office contents land? FEMA Figure 1-7 shows that the material was ejected into two 1,200 foot diameter debris fields, each of which was centered on the footprints of each tower.
As shown in numerous photos and videos, the towers were destroyed by sequential explosions which ejected the material away from the core in all directions. The explosions that did this destruction moved down the tower and created a high pressure front that resulted in the winds that the survivors described. The atrium of the Twin Towers is at least four stories tall. Under the explosive demolition hypothesis, there would be no structure that would need to be destroyed below the fifth floor.