This article is a record of major high-rise fires around the world over the past 50 years. As the record shows, neither before nor since 9/11 has a steel-frame, fire-protected high-rise experienced a total collapse due to fire — much less a collapse exhibiting all the features of controlled demolition, as was observed in the destruction of the three World Trade Center skyscrapers on September 11, 2001.
Given that fires have scarcely caused even partial collapses in steel-frame, fire-protected high-rises, and given the rapid, symmetrical, total destruction of the three World Trade Center skyscrapers in one day, it is inexcusable that federal investigators did not make controlled demolition their primary hypothesis early on in the investigation.
This record of major high-rise fires will be updated when future fires occur, and it is not necessarily comprehensive. If you are aware of a major high-rise fire that is not included, please contact us.
Table of Contents
Major High-Rise Fires Resulting in No Collapse
Steel-frame High-rises with Fire Protection
World Trade Center Building 1 in lower Manhattan (1975)
World Trade Center Building 1, otherwise known as the North Tower, was a 110-story steel-frame, fire-protected skyscraper. Its 11th floor suffered a fire from an unknown cause on February 13, 1975. The fire started shortly before midnight in a furnished office on Floor 11 and spread through some 65% of the floor (the core plus half of the office area). By the time firefighters arrived, flames were also spreading vertically via telephone cable openings in the floor slabs, causing subsidiary fires from the 9th floor to the 19th. The fire lasted more than three hours and did an estimated $2 million worth of damage. Cleaning and service personnel were evacuated without any fatalities. However, of the 150 firefighters at the scene, 28 sustained injuries from the intense heat and smoke. According to Captain Harold Kull of Engine Co. 6, “It was like fighting a blow torch. Flames could be seen pouring out of 11th floor windows on the east side of the building.”