National Fire Protection Association (NFPA) Conference in Las Vegas - June, 2023
PAPA hosted an evidence booth in June at the Boston NFPA Convention. Our guest of honor was retired Captain Raul Angulo from the Seattle Fire Department. Capt. Angulo is an NFPA author of Engine Company Fireground Operations, 4th edition, in partnership with NFPA and Jones & Bartlett Learning.
We had reached out to Captain Angulo to ask him why the high-rise fireground operations had not changed in the wake of the Salomon Brothers (WTC 7) building collapse. This began a conversation about the investigation results, and the complete absence of changes after the first ever global collapse of a Type 1 high-rise.
We made connections with several hundred people in Boston. Currently we are in conversations with some VIP's affiliated with the NFPA who care deeply about the future of fire investigations.
Raul A. Angulo
Raul A. Angulo retired from the Seattle (WA) Fire Dept. with over 37 years of honorable service and is Captain Emeritus of Ladder Co. 6. He is an international author and instructor and serves as a member of the editorial advisory board for Fire Apparatus and Emergency Equipment magazine. He has been teaching at FDIC International since 1996 and currently presents the popular workshop, Drills You’re Not Going to Find in the Book.
I want to thank you for visiting the Protecting All Protectors Alliance (PAPA) booth at the recent NFPA conference in Boston, MA. It was a pleasure meeting and speaking with many of you. I also want to congratulate you for taking the first step in asking important questions about how this unprecedented collapse happened to the Solomon Brother’s building (WTC 7).
As I stated at the conference, in my research on highrise building fires for my book, Engine Company Fireground Operations 4 th Edition, published by Jones and Bartlett Learning, in conjunction with NFPA, I was surprised to learn that not a single Type I construction highrise building in the USA, or around the world for that matter, has collapsed due to fire – despite the fact that many of these fires were quite spectacular. Because significant highrise fires are rare, those that have already occurred still remain our primary case studies. Yet after 20 years, the complete global collapse at freefall acceleration of WTC 7 continues to be unknown, overlooked, or even ignored by many fire service professionals. This fire, compared to the others, was anything but spectacular. On any other date, this building collapse would have received national attention, and would become an exclusive case study that would be studied extensively for years to come.
When you consider the fire load inside WTC 7, primarily office furnishings, it is difficult to believe that such a fire load could release the amount of thermal energy required to weaken a single structural column that would completely collapse such a building. Type I construction, the strongest of the five classes, is designed to withstand the common office fire load. In other words, the fuel should be consumed before structural components are compromised. Yet, per their own report, that is what the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) wants us to believe.
Two important documents now exist that challenge the NIST report conclusion and the narrative on WTC 7. The 2020 study out of the University of Alaska by Professor J. Leroy Hulsey – A Structural Reevaluation of the Collapse of World Trade Center 7, and the new 2021 NFPA Standard 1700, Guide for Structural Fire Fighting. The Hulsey conclusion does not attribute the collapse of WTC 7 to a single column failure due to fire involvement, and NFPA 1700, Chapter 12 on Highrise Fires implies that all operations, including sheltering or protecting occupants in place, occur during interior operations. There is no mention of “fire-induced progressive collapse” - as NIST claims is a new phenomenon, nor any mention or warning of the potential of structural collapse when fighting fires in highrise buildings. This is why this topic finally needs to be addressed.
As you can see, there are major discrepancies in the information that firefighters rely on to be truthful and accurate. Both firefighter and civilian lives depend on the veracity of information that is published by such organizations. As an author of a textbook that is providing guidance for the dangerous assignments of interior offensive attack and interior search and rescue of trapped occupants, I need my readers to trust what I am saying is true. It is a matter of personal integrity and trust. Therefore, I must rely on the information I’m getting from architects, building and fire protection engineers, and professional organizations like Underwriters Laboratories (UL), NFPA, USFA, NFA, NIOSH, and NIST are also telling me the truth. We must rely on physical science, not political science, lest we violate the public trust and endanger the lives of civilians and firefighters.
I encourage you to watch Calling Out Bravo 7, 2020 edition on the PAPA website. Many of your questions, as were mine, were answered after watching this excellent documentary.
My best to all of you as we go forward to establish the truth.
Captain Emeritus, Ladder Company 6
Seattle Fire Department (Retired)