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WTC fire suppression systems - What happened?

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posted on Aug, 24 2009 @ 08:19 PM
In February 27, 1993 a bomb exploded in the second level parking area of the WTC complex. The bomb was specifically placed near the emergency communication and equipment area and it disabled all emergency systems.

the explosion was perfectly, even eerily, situated to cripple the massive complex.


Plans were considered at that time to put a command center in every building rather than just a centralized emergency command. The PORT Authority seemed to be leading the security of the complex.

I'm not an expert on 9/11 facts so I'm looking for information from those knowledgeable in the subject, were there any reports of sprinkler heads going off, busted pipes, flowing water? Was there a loss of pressure in the pipes due to too many activations of the fire suppression system? Any information you have I would like to hear, so that I may have a bit more knowledge of this.

posted on Aug, 24 2009 @ 09:06 PM
Only this morning I found some information on an alleged outside contractor 'working' on the sprinkler system days before 9/11, from a company called Denko Mechanical.

There's some info on it here:

I'm just looking into it myself, so I can't claim whether this has been proven or disproven in the past - just thought it might be a good place for you to start looking.

At the top of that page in the grey box is a very pertinent quote from someone up in the towers with regards to the sprinkler system not working...


posted on Aug, 24 2009 @ 09:30 PM
WTC was originally built without spriinklers, buildings were retrofitted in 1980's with sprinklers on every floor

When originally constructed, the two towers were not provided with automatic fire sprinkler protection. However, such protection was installed as a retrofit circa 1990, and automatic sprinklers covered nearly 100 percent of WTC 1 and WTC 2 at the time of the September 11 attacks. In addition, each building had standpipes running through each of its three stairways. A 1.5-inch hose line and a cabinet containing two air pressurized water (APW) extinguishers were also present at each floor in each stairway.

The primary water supply was provided by a dedicated fire yard main that looped around most of the complex. This yard main was supplied directly from the municipal water supply. Two remotely located high pressure, multi-stage, 750-gallons per minute (gpm) electrical fire pumps took suction from the New York City municipal water supply and produced the required operating pressures for the yard main.

Each tower had three electrical fire pumps that provided additional pressure for the standpipes. One pump, located on the 7th floor, received the discharge from the yard main fire pumps and moved it up to the 41st floor, where a second 750-gpm fire pump pushed it up to a third pump on the 75th floor. Each fire pump produced sufficient pressure to supply water to the pump two stages up from it in the event that any one pump should fail. Several 5,000-gallon storage tanks, filled from the domestic water system, provided a secondary water supply. Tanks on the 41st, 75th, and 110th floors provided water directly to a standpipe system. A tank on the 20th floor supplied water directly to the yard main. Numerous Fire Department of New York (FDNY) connections were located around the complex to allow the fire department to boost water pressure in the buildings.

Because nobody survived above impact zones (only few in south tower)
can not tell if sprinklers activated. In North tower plane made direct hit
on central core containing plumbing for sprinklers and standpipes.
Sprinklers and other fire supression systems would have been rendered inoperable In South imjpact was off center, but still destroyed much of central core .

Even if operable sprinklers were designed only to handle office contents
fire - not jet fuel feed inferno extending over most of floor.

Both the NIST calculations and interviews with survivors and firefighters indicated that the aircraft impacts severed the water pipes that carried the water to the sprinkler systems. The sprinklers were not operating on the principal fire floors.

However, there were ample sources of the water in the stairwells. The water pipes ran vertically within the stairwells. Moreover, there would have been copious water from the broken restroom supply lines and from the water tanks that supplied the initial water for the sprinklers. Thus, it is not surprising that evacuating occupants encountered a lot of water.

Even if the automatic sprinklers had been operational, the sprinkler systems—which were installed in accordance with the prevailing fire safety code—were designed to suppress a fire that covered as much as 1,500 square feet on a given floor. This amount of coverage is capable of controlling almost all fires that are likely to occur in an office building. On Sept. 11, 2001, the jet-fuel ignited fires quickly spread over most of the 40,000 square feet on several floors in each tower. This created infernos that could not have been suppressed even by an undamaged sprinkler system, much less one that had been appreciably degraded.

posted on Aug, 24 2009 @ 09:36 PM
I absolutely feel in my gut that the govt. was responsible. Really all any of us have in this world is our intuitions! s,f

posted on Aug, 24 2009 @ 10:04 PM
Great information so far. I've worked in high rise structures most of my life, and have been part of emergency operations inside of the buildings. I once had an incident with one sprinkler head being busted off. It took a matter of about 3 minutes before that water was pouring through the floors down some 20 stories. The room in which the one sprinkler head had busted had standing water of about 2-3 inches. It wasn't a huge room maybe 1000 square feet but it was enough water to put out any fire. I've also seen sprinkler heads function the same way, except it sprays the water onto walls. Most fire head sprinklers are heat activated, as they contain a chemical inside the sprinkler head that will react at a certain temperature.

Jet fuel would float on top of water until it was burned off. The whole jet fuel thing that it burned for almost an hour seems impossible, just based off common sense. It would burn off in minutes, possibly igniting other sources in the process.

*scratches head

posted on Aug, 24 2009 @ 10:27 PM
Sprinkler systems would not have done any good anyway.

Sprinkler systems are only good for fires below the sprinkers.
fires in the ceiling or above the sprinker heads would not get any water.

Sprinkler systems are only designed to controll small fires like trashcan fires or fires from furniture before they spread.

They are not for raging infernos or fuel fires as they are water only.
for large jet fuel fires you need firefighting agents like chemical foam or AFFF.

Most dry stand pipe sprinkler systems are soldered copper piping that the joints give way as the solder melts at the joints.

As a ex firefighter/EMT i have seen many systems fail when exposed to fires greater then the system was designed for.

posted on Aug, 25 2009 @ 04:50 AM
reply to post by ExPostFacto

If had read quote would see that max area aprinkler designed to
control is 1500 sq ft. WTC floors were over 40,000 feet

Path of aircraft impact would have destroyed the plumbing (risers) necessary to provide the water for the sprinklers

One of first thing FD does in office fire is connect to sprinkler system through external connections on side of building. This is because
as heads are activated the system depressurizes and amount of water
flowing decreases. Pumpers are used to boost amount of water in the

Belong to FD so have seen share of broken sprinklers (and had to shut
them off)

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