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Background Attack Aftermath Evidence Misinformation Analysis Memorial

5 and 6 World Trade Center

What Caused the Large Holes Visible from Above

Some reports suggested that explosions were responsible for the holes in WTC 6 and WTC 5. 1   The depths of the holes have been cited as evidence of this, as have their clean profiles.

However, it does seem plausible that falling pieces from the breakup of the North Tower could have created the holes. The steel in just the upper half of the Tower's northeast wall weighed several thousand tons. It can be imagined, given the degree of mushrooming in the Tower collapse, that Building 6 received most of the weight of the Tower's northeast wall. Thousands of tons falling from a thousand feet could have crushed all eight stories of such a building. Moreover, the rectangular shape of the hole, and the fact that it runs the length of the Tower's northeast wall (whose remnants can be seen in the left side of the photo), suggests that it corresponds to the region of heaviest steel fallout from that wall. If the Tower continued to disintegrate in the uniform manner seen before dust clouds obscured the region of breakup, it is easy to imagine that the column-and-spandrel panels of the perimeter wall would be blown off fairly consistently in the direction perpendicular to the wall. That would result in a roughly rectangular distribution of fallout.

Other evidence cited to support the idea that there were explosions in Building 6, and Building 5 as well, is a photo showing a dust cloud rising higher than the top of 47-story Building 7, in the area of WTC 5 and 6. Proponents of the explosion theory have suggested the photo was taken around 9 AM, just after the South Tower was hit. But that photograph actually appears to have been taken just after the South Tower collapsed. Note that no part of the facade of the South Tower is visible in this photo taken from the north-northwest. Although the South Tower was behind the North Tower, a section of its northwest wall would have been visible to the right of the North Tower, were it still standing. The rising cloud is clearly part of the immense cloud of dust from the destruction of WTC 2. As the South Tower fell, the dust clouds raced across the plaza and were deflected upward when they encountered Buildings 5 and 6. The upwelling of columns of dust to over the height of Building 7 is clearly seen on videos of the subsequent North Tower collapse.

A more detailed analysis of the photograph can be found on the nerdcities.com/guardian website. 2   Note that the same alleged explosion is taken by some as evidence of the explosion of a fuel tank in Building 7, even though the cloud is on the wrong side of the building and looks nothing like exploding diesel fuel would look if it were possible for a diesel fuel tank to explode.


1. Unexplained 9-11 Explosion at WTC Complex, American Free Press,
2. The WTC 7 Explosion Myth, nercities.com/guardian,

page last modified: 2006-12-23