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Fuel for thought


The possibility that the oil supply to a generator had a part to play in the collapse of a truss in the World Trade Center (WTC) reminds me of a similar situation in a large six storey framed building I examined.

The roof top boilers were fed by an adjacent day tank which was supplied from an underground storage tank. A fire several floors up the building ruptured the feed to the day tank, resulting in the oil pumps feeding oil up the pipe into the fire. The result was the collapse of a section of the building.

In the WTC fire some witnesses reported burning fuel pouring down escape routes. I do not know if that was aviation or gas oil.

Three suggestions are worth considering;

Measures to be introduced into the building regulations to reduce the chance of liquids reaching escape routes

Hardening of the structure of escape routes

A rethink of aircraft design with reference to fuel storage and its relation to fire from fuel storage tank rupture.

Gordon Millington (F), gordon. millington@nireland.


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