Can office fires cause large steel columns to buckle?

The CT’s aren’t convinced yet. “Office fires, even if they’re started by jet fuel, can NOT get hot enough to cause huge steel columns to buckle!” (If the CTs have a mantra, it is this. Actually, they almost always use the strawman statement “to melt steel.”)

Conspiracists, you are dead wrong.

In WTC Building 5, this large column and beam buckled on floor 8 of 9.
The fire was fueled by office materials only.

Source: FEMA report on WTC 4, 5, and 6, page 15.

Imagine if this floor had also been hit by an airliner traveling at 400-500 knots, destroying and weakening surrounding columns and blasting the fire protection off the steel. Now imagine another 100 million pounds (45 million kg.) of building resting on this damaged foundation.

Another way of looking at this is, if office fires can’t get that hot, why is it the law in New York City that all steel-framed buildings over 1 story tall must have fire resistant coatings applied to their structural steel?

Jonathan Barnett, PhD, a fire protection engineer who investigated its collapse, says of WTC 7,
“It doesn’t take that much fire protection to be removed for the steel to fail.” –The History Channel: Modern Marvels: Engineering Disasters #13

As Frank Brannigan states in his Building Construction for the Fire Service text, "There are still some misconceptions that steel construction and steel buildings are safe when attacked by fire. This is as far from the truth as you can imagine."

Below: missing fire protection and fire-induced buckling on a 23rd-floor column at 90 West St. This 9/11 fire was fueled by office contents only. Columns on the on the 8th floor also buckled. (Source: FEMA)

Below: Fire protection knocked off column & beam inside 130 Liberty St. by debris from the south tower. WTC 7 & 130 Liberty may have sustained similar damage, but the latter had less severe fires, in its basement, which were extinguished.

"Relatively small proportional losses of fire protection material are required before sig-nificant reductions in fire resistance are realized." –From abstract, “A study of the effect of partial loss of protection on the fire resistance of steel col-umns.” Fire Technology, Feb. 2005 (Full article is purchase only)

Steel without thermal protection can fail extremely quickly in a fire:

"One of the most common structures today is the strip mall built with steel bar joists and metal deck roofs. A serious fire in one of these structures should be expected to produce roof collapse in as little as 5 to 10 minutes." Sept. 1998

But protected steel, even without prior structural damage, presents its own hazards:

"Class 1 (fire-resistive) buildings typical of high-rise construction usually are designated as having three- or four-hour fire resistance ratings. In the past, that was taken to mean that they would never be a serious collapse threat. While this is usually the case in the completed structures, it is not a guarantee, particularly in the steel-framed high-rise that relies on some type of spray-on or membrane fireproofing to protect the steel. The 1 Meridian Plaza fire in Philadelphia proved that these can be severe dangers under the wrong set of circumstances." Sept. 1998

To advertise their products, the Concrete Alliance uses the example of Madrid’s Windsor Building fire, in which all the structural steel in the fire-affected area collapsed, leaving the concrete core standing. Fire protection for the Windsor’s structural steel was in the process of being upgraded, but that work had not reached the upper levels. Arup, the fire protection engineering firm, says that the steel would likely have failed even if it had been fire-protected.

How absurd are the CT arguments? CTs often use the Windsor Building fire to support their claim that the WTC buildings should not have collapsed, completely ignoring the fact that fire destroyed the Windsor’s steel. The WTC buildings had cores of steel, not concrete.