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Recommended Book – 102 Minutes

“102 Minutes: The Untold Story of the Fight to Survive Inside the Twin Towers” by Jim Dwyer and Kevin Flynn

This moment-by-moment account of 9/11 at the World Trade Center puts you in the buildings as the chaos unfolds, but more importantly, it uses historical record to point out that the fate of those trapped in the buildings was set in motion decades before when special interest groups (real estate and construction) effectively put space (rental income) over the safety of the occupants. It’s a disturbing tale that repeats itself more and more often in America – if a company can squeeze a few more million a year out it, to hell with the impact on ordinary Americans.

1000 people were trapped above the impact zone:

“Their fate was sealed nearly four decades earlier, when the stairways were clustered in the core of the building, and fire stairs were elminated as a wasteful use of valuable space.” (pg 243)

The most shocking part is that the fire-resistance system in the building had NEVER BEEN TESTED.

“The thickness of the fireproofing applied to the floors in two of the world’s tallest buildings seemed to have been based on little more than a hunch.” (p 253)

Even the architects of the building renounced responsibility they they found out that Port Authority officials had deleted a requirement that the steel be able to withstand 3-4 hours of fire – and the PA was exempt from the code and oversight requirements that the private sector could not avoid or dance around.

You will be angered by many of the facts laid out in this book – and it’s an important read. A few other bits of imcompetence, childish territoriality, and stupidity include:

In 1994 Giuliani disbanded the Aviation Emergency Preparedness Working Group (note that this is AFTER the 93 attacks on the WTC) which had been designed to get fire and police to work better together through organized joint drills.

In the 8 years after WTC’s first attack in 93 not a single joint drill was conducted there – even though a retired WTC director had warned they should prepare for a catastrophe involving a plane hitting the towers.

The possibility of a plane hitting the towers was warning during construction.

The real estate industry fought codes the fire department said were essential in high rises – and the real estate interests won.

It was Giuiliani who had the brilliant idea of putting the Office of Emergency Management in WTC complex – against the advice of emergency response experts because it was the #1 terrorist target. So they had NO bunker to operate from during the crisis and had to use a bus!

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