A Message from Sally Regenhard, founder, The Skyscraper Safety Campaign
I had known it from that deadly day, as I watched the towers burn and then crumble like pillars of salt, like a house of cards, like something in a third-world country--that this was something that never should have happened. The towers never should have collapsed, at least not in the amount of time that they did! The tallest and largest buildings in the world, designed to hold 50,000 people, turned out to be the biggest death traps that history has ever seen.
I just wanted to know why the WTC collapsed, taking 2,749 persons with it, including 343 Fire Department of New York (FDNY) firefighters. Seventeen of them were FDNY Probies, including my beautiful and innocent son, Christian, who were not supposed to be killed in the line of duty. Now finally, after five long years, the author of Fire in the Skyscraper has helped to answer this question.
In this comprehensively researched and extremely well-written book, former FDNY Battalion Chief Arthur Scheuerman combines his 20-year career as an NYC firefighter with five years of meticulously dedicated research to help the reader understand just how and why the Twin Towers collapsed on 9/11. The chief analyzes and interprets in clear and concise terms all the factors that combined to create the largest structural collapse in world history and the largest loss of life on American soil since the Civil War.
And, he goes even further than the NIST Federal Investigation did, because he carefully considers the effect of the Port Authority's (PA) immunities and exemptions from building and fire codes on the design, construction, and ultimate collapse of the WTC.
My son Christian and the 343 FDNY firefighters were not killed by a fire on 9/11: They were killed by a building. NYC and the PA learned nothing from the first terrorist attack on these fragile buildings eight years earlier. Despite this history, on 9/11 NYC was characterized by failures in emergency planning, emergency preparedness, and emergency communications. Combined with the fatally flawed buildings, this was the prescription for disaster that the terrorists could only dream of.
The Skyscraper Safety Campaign and I will never give up until we all learn from the deadly mistakes of the WTC that caused so many to die such needless and brutal deaths on 9/11. Those who are ignorant of the deadly mistakes of the past are doomed to repeat them. Fire in the Skyscraper will help us learn from these mistakes.
Chairperson, Skyscraper Safety Campaign