NY Port Authority Forgets Fireproofing Lesson of 9-11?

A structure built to withstand a passenger being flown into it?

WABC-TV (NY) reports,

The World Trade Center Transportation Hub is behind schedule and hundreds of millions over budget.

The dual pressure of time and cost-overruns might help explain why the Port Authority has decided to eliminate the fireproofing of the huge above-ground steel structure that 200,000 people will pass under every day.

“Fireproofing is a critical piece of fire protection, a blanket we put on buildings to insulate the steel from heat of fire and in my estimation it is critical component for any large building particularly a transit facility like this one,” said Glenn Corbett, a fire safety expert.

But more than a year ago, Eyewitness News pressed then Port Authority Executive Director Chris Ward on whether the $25 million fireproofing had been yanked from the Transit Hub contract…

… the Port Authority hired an engineering firm to conduct a test to see whether the steel structure without fireproofing could hold up under a fire.

It concluded that it could because of “the high volume of the space and robustness of the structure”.

The problem according to experts Eyewitness News spoke to is that the test was based on a fire equal to “two-to-three closely spaced passenger cars”.

JunkScience.com broke the news on Sep. 14., 2011, that Port Authority mishandling of World Trade Center fireproofing may have accelerated the collapse of the twin towers.

Read Steve Milloy’s Sep. 14, 2001 FoxNews.com column, “Asbestos Could Have Saved WTC Lives.”

[h/t DannyB]

2 thoughts on “NY Port Authority Forgets Fireproofing Lesson of 9-11?”

  1. It wasn’t the fireproofing that led to the disaster, it was a lack of a sprinkling system above the 50th floor in both towers. This was a large bone of contention while the trade centers were being constructed. Other building owners were complaining the trade centers could lease out space for less because the buildings didn’t have the extra cost of a sprinkler system above the 50th floor like very other building in New York did. The way they got away with it was the world trade center sits on land owned by the port authority, and therefore was not required to comply with NYC buiilding codes. If there is enough water available to keep the beams cooled in the event of a major fire, then there won’t be any problems,however, if the sprinkler system is compromised in any way, there will be another major disaster

  2. Todd, either fireproofing or proper sprinklers would have worked to stop the fires and at least slow the collapse to get people out). However, I question whether the sprinkler system would have been effective with a gaping hole in the side of the building. I may not be an expert, but from my vantage point, a passive fireproofing system would be preferrable than reliance on sprinklers.

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