News on WTC/Pentagon Disasters for the Week of 11/14

What follows are news items relating to the events of 9/11 compiled by the Fire Engineering staff.

November 14, 2001

November 14, 2001

Continue to Attend FDNY Firefighter Funerals and Memorial Services

This is a reminder from some Fire Department of New York firefighters.

There are still numerous funerals and memorial services ahead for FDNY firefighters lost in the Sept. 11 terrorist attacks ahead. Unfortunately, the number of attendees is getting a bit smaller. Obviously, with the upcoming holidays and the catching-up from the past several months since Sept. 11, there may be a drop off in attendance for any number of reasons.

Time has a way of helping us to deal with tragedies; as a part of that process, we tend to refocus. We must not allow ourselves (or the public) to EVER get so “refocused” that we forget what happened.

Additionally, don’t allow the family of any member of the FDNY lost on Sept. 11 to think that any of us has forgotten them by not attending the service for their loved one.

If there is any way possible, take some time to attend some services in New York. Maybe you might even be able to reconsider your family plans for the next few weeks and make it to New York to show your support. The people’s hearts and their economy could use your help.

Furthermore, many of you have written me expressing outrage to the recent firefighter arrests and the related situations. Take that outrage, and head to New York to pay your respects to the FDNY families. It’s the perfect response.

Without a doubt, you will find your participation personally rewarding. At the same time, you will be showing the members of FDNY and their families that you care and have not forgotten.

I don’t know of a single person (I have heard from fire service members receiving my newsletter from California to Canada to Florida) who has regretted making the decision to take the time to attend one or more funerals or memorial services. . In addition, the “out of town” attendees with whom we have spoken have made some lifelong friends while in New York City. They all felt that making the trip really did make a difference.

I plan on heading there in December. Trust me. It’s worth your time and money. You can get daily information on the services at or at this Web site.

Chief Billy Goldfeder

Towers’ Construction Saves Thousands

Researchers are getting to the bottom of what caused the catastrophic failure of the Twin Towers on September 11. What is known is that the fires after both crashes managed to weaken the steel supports holding up the two buildings. What is not known is what the sequence of failures is. Clearly, however, the construction of the two buildings and their ability to withstand the impacts from September 11 led to the saving of thousands of lives.

According to the New York Times, engineers think they are close to specifying the structural failures that led to the collapse of the two 110-story towers. One theory has emerged that lightweight steel trusses holding up the reinforced concrete floors sagged in the heat of the fires and failed first when the connections that held them to the steel columns on the outside of the building gave way. Each failure led to a larger one until the buildings fell to the ground at an estimated 120 mph.

Engineers claim that the initial failures would have caused the collapses. Rather, as the first floor fell, causing one or two more floors to fall, the steel columns within the aluminum facade would have no lateral support. The exterior columns of the building could have buckled under the weight above them. The theory goes that once the columns on those floors buckled, the rest of the columns had no chance to stop the collapse. But, no consensus has been reached that this theory is correct.

Whatever theory proves to be true in the end, the construction of the buildings saved thousands of lives. The surviving columns after the impact redistributed their load, preventing an immediate collapse. The exterior columns of the building gave the towers enough stiffness to withstand hurricane-force winds of greater than 100 mph and proved invaluable to the thousands of people that made it out of the buildings on September 11.

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