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View Full Version : Did Mafia-Owned Construction Companies Build The WTC Towers?


ralph124c
09-29-2004, 03:20 AM
I watched the NOVA documentary about the collapse of the WTC towers on 9/11 with great interest. I also recalled Rudolph Giukliani's courageous pursuit of the Mob in NYC, in the 1970's and 80's. At one time, most of the cement poured on NYC construction sites was done by Mob-owned construction companies..and these companies were known for:
-high costs (about 30-60%) above those of non-Mob cities (like LA and Minneapolis)
-shoddy work: Mob-owned companies were famous for "short pours', and skimping on rebars..so as to make even MORE money!
My question is: is there evidence that these Mob-owned outfits poor./shoddy workmanship contributed to the towers collapse?
If this is true, will anything come out on this (in the lawsuits)?? :(

Broomstick
09-29-2004, 05:58 AM
The mere fact something falls down after having an airplane rammed into it and an hour or so of burning in a 1800 F fire doe not mean it was poorly built or had a structural defect.

Granted, I am not a structural engineer, but the general consensus vibe I'm picking up on is that the towers, by and large, performed better than expected.

I have no doubt somebody somewhere is going to sue, claiming the towers should have stood up to anything, but will they win.....?

Diceman
09-29-2004, 07:51 AM
Granted, I am not a structural engineer, but the general consensus vibe I'm picking up on is that the towers, by and large, performed better than expected.
Um, no.

The towers were supposed to be capable of withstanding an aircraft collision. Unfortunately, nobody realized that the burning jet fuel would weaken the structural supports.

AskNott
09-29-2004, 07:52 AM
Well, if you're going to busy yourself looking for conspiracies, don't forget that the Bin Laden family is in the construction business. :rolleyes: :eek:

Bytegeist
09-29-2004, 10:27 AM
Unfortunately, nobody realized that the burning jet fuel would weaken the structural supports.
Actually if I remember that Nova documentary correctly it was the burning office material (the paper, furniture, etcetra) that raised the temperature high enough and long enough to weaken the supports. The jet fuel itself burned up almost immediately.

There's some commentary here (http://vincentdunn.com/wtc.html), from a retired NYC deputy fire chief, about the spray-on fire protection material that coated the steel supports, and whether (in the author's opinion) it was adequate to the job. He essentially blames the lax building codes approved in 1968 and the politics behind them, rather than the Mafia or the construction companies.

Whack-a-Mole
09-29-2004, 12:50 PM
Um, no.

The towers were supposed to be capable of withstanding an aircraft collision. Unfortunately, nobody realized that the burning jet fuel would weaken the structural supports.


Sort of.

The towers were designed to withstand the impact of a Boeing 737 aircraft...the largest passenger plane at that time the towers were being designed. The Boeing 757 that did hit the towers was considerably bigger than a 737. Despite all of that it was the 10,000 gallons of jet fuel that did the building in more than anything. The sprinkler system failed but consensus seems to be it would have been inneffective even had it worked. So many sprinkler heads would have opened due to that much burning fuel it would have depressurized the system. Engineers definitely knew that fire would weaken the structure which is why all the beams had a protective fire retardant coating but it seems the sheer violence of the impact and initial explosion blew all of that coating off. AFAIK no one had ever considered that to be an issue.

All in all the WTC did actually perform better than expected considering what happened to them. The only "flaw" in the building was the hanging floors rather than an internal network of support beams that may have allowed the WTC to succumb where a building like the Sears Tower probably would not have (I got that from a friend of mine who is a structural engineer but even he admits it is just conjecture). Even then calling that a "flaw" I think is overstating it. The building was strong and durable and asking anything to put up with what it did is asking an awful lot.

Q.E.D.
09-29-2004, 01:02 PM
The towers were designed to withstand the impact of a Boeing 737 aircraft...the largest passenger plane at that time the towers were being designed.
No, that was the 707, the four-engine predecessor to the slightly larger 747. Both are considerably larger than a 737.

Peter Morris
09-29-2004, 01:11 PM
My question is: is there evidence that these Mob-owned outfits poor./shoddy workmanship contributed to the towers collapse?
If this is true, will anything come out on this (in the lawsuits)?? :(

Suing the Mafia? Good luck with that one.

Whack-a-Mole
09-29-2004, 01:43 PM
No, that was the 707, the four-engine predecessor to the slightly larger 747. Both are considerably larger than a 737.

I stand corrected that it was a 707 and not a 737 they were thinking of when designing the building. But the question now is which 707 model?

707 367-80 (also called the "Dash-80")

or

707-320B

Boeing 707 info (http://www.boeing.com/commercial/707family/product.html)

BIG difference between the size of the two planes. 737 is bigger than the Dash-80 but not by a lot. 707-320B is bigger than a 757 is some measurements (higher total weight and larger wingspan although shorter than a 757).

Boeing 757 info (http://www.boeing.com/commercial/757family/technical.html)
Boeing 737 info (http://www.boeing.com/commercial/737family/technical.html)

I'm having a bit of trouble finding which 707 they actually meant but if it was the 707-320B then the WTC didn't do so well although it did withstand the impact. The fire is what did the building in and I do remember an interview with some structural engineer who said the impact they could account for but modelling what the fuel and resulting fire would do is beyond even todays computer modelling and certainly way beyond what they could calculate in the mid-60s.

Whack-a-Mole
09-29-2004, 01:46 PM
I meant to add to my post above...

Here's a picture of a refurbished Dash-80 flying. Looks remarkably like a 737 except with 4 engines.

Restored 707/Dash 80 over Olympics (http://www.boeingphotostore.com/source/Detail.aspx?L1=&L2=&imageId=50832509&action=&ss=)

Q.E.D.
09-29-2004, 02:08 PM
It was a 707-320. This page (http://encyclopedia.thefreedictionary.com/Collapse%20of%20the%20World%20Trade%20Center) gives a table comparing the 707-320 to a 767-200, the larger of the two planes which struck the towers (the other was the 757 that you mentioned).

Parameter Boeing 707-320 Boeing 767-200
fuel capacity 23,000 US gal 87,000 L 23,980 US gal 90,780 L
max takeoff wt 333,600 lb 151,300 kg 387,000 lb 175,500 kg
empty weight 146,400 lb 66,400 kg 164,800 lb 74,800 kg
wingspan 145.75 ft 44 m 156.08 ft 48 m
wing area 3010 ft 280 m 3050 ft 283 m
length 152.92 ft 47 m 159.17 ft 49 m
cruise speed 557 mph 896 km/h 530 mph 853 km/h

danceswithcats
09-29-2004, 02:30 PM
Everything I've read in the fire service community includes part or all of what Whack-a-Mole listed. The idea behind protected steel construction and sprinklered occupancies is not to make them fireproof. We want them to retain structural soundness until we can evacuate the place. Granted, a 10 fire will often be extinguished by the time the first engine company arrives, but the life safety issue is the driving force-we have to get the people out before effectively engaging in suppression. The WTC was a logistical nightmare from the get-go: it wasn't humanly possible to apply adequate fire flow streams on the area involved before the clock ran out. Only good providence and the determination of FDNY members removed as many souls as were prior to structural collapse. As far as the building design is concerned, while somewhat unique, it was sound from an engineering standpoint, and offered the large open floor plans eagerly sought after by developers and office space property managers.

Chairman Pow
09-29-2004, 03:01 PM
If anyone's still interested in the expense, you have to figure that 1) New York is, IIRC, big union town. That will jack the prices up considerably. 2) For pricing information on construction, check out the RS Means books at your local bookstore. They list average prices for a given unit of work and then additional multipliers based on things like city that will increase or decrease the price. These books are the guideline used by estimators to calculate the cost of the building. You will note that New York is significantly more expensive than your other areas. Also, LA has some remarkably lax building codes as far as they go (compared to Chicago and I presume New York) so there's a lot less "stuff" that needs to be done.

That last point is conjecture from having talked to people who were familiar with the other areas, so I can't confirm that, but have no reason to believe it's false.

As stated, the building would have had to undergo periodic checks on the strength of concrete as well as inspections at various points. If there was a flaw in the installation, then it is the city's fault and not the contractor's.

Re: massive job with lots of political patronage and favors being called in. That explains it all.