Sixth posting to Design Community BBS
(c) 2001, Mike Barkley

Continuing my posting of 01:23:34 11/12/2001,
Posted by Mike Barkley on November 27, 2001 at 20:09:35:

In Reply to: Re: WTC stairwells - How many killed by Port Authority Greed? posted by ZERO on November 25, 2001 at 17:03:50:

Posted by ZERO on November 25, 2001 at 17:03:50:

> In Reply to: Re: WTC stairwells - How many killed by
> Port Authority Greed? posted by Mike Barkle on
> November 25, 2001 at 16:33:06:
> I doubt he will respond. After reading his post to you
> I posted him (below) suggesting he visit your site, read
> it and then return. He has not done so. I am also surprised
> (but then is that naive of me) that other visitors to the
> forum were not as angry at what you have found as I was. If
> they were they didn't say.

Yes, I saw your posting and appreciated it. No, I did not lose anyone I knew personally at Ground Zero, but after the past few months it's been like I've lost 5,000 of my closest friends, if that makes any sense, good, hardworking, decent people of all faiths, creeds, races, and professions. Mr. M. feels a need to defend his father's work, which I understand. The real culprits aren't responding -- indeed, many of them died, needlessly.

> Some of the stuff (particularly the emergency calls) not
> only stayed with me for days, but will remain with me for a
> long time to come. It might have been someone of mine. Or
> me. The situation of those trapped on the top floors of No. 1
> especially is hard to grasp. If the President had been
> lunching that day in the Windows restaurant would it have been
> too difficult for the helicopters?

I'd included a subset of those calls (for the rest of you, that's at ), just those that related to the locked stairwells and other barriers. The full listing is at

and many other sites, taken from

-- Yes, it's heart-wrenching and haunting. The USFA report mentioned that in 1993 the police helicopter crew cut antennas on Tower 2 to allow landing. I'm not sure that was possible with the TV tower on Tower One because of its sheer size, but I'd hate to think those 700 people were sacrificed for the interests of the New York broadcast media.

> I have read nothing of the ongoing police investigation. I
> assume they will be as thorough as you (but then is that
> naive of me again?)

I know of no such investigation. Only one reporter I know of has shown sensitivity to these issues, that being the author of the piece. The Wall Street Journal reporter may also have a good grasp of it, but I haven't purchased a copy of that article so I do not know. It may be up to the trial lawyers to investigate if the industry does not police itself.

> I know it is not popular to point fingers when most hands are
> wavingtheir flags. I should not want to think I had lost someone
> needlessly. But if I HAD then I should want someone like
> you to be asking your questions and I should have looked for
> more support than you have been given. Cliche or not, if your
> mission will stir others to pre-empt similar loss elsewhere,
> their deaths won't have been entirely in vain.

If just the few who read this forum who are involved in project designed will, upon finishing their projects, stand back and review them while saying to themselves, "What if the worst happens and I am stuck in this structure, will I get out safely, and how? What if I sprain my ankle, or am burned over 50% of my body? Can firefighters get to me? Are my stairwells wide enough to use a Stokes? Will "defend-in-place" firefighting work with this project? Can firefighters get to the upper floors in time, and will there be a water supply when they get there? Have I secured that water supply against *all* hazards? Does my design flush high-temperature buoyant flammables away from support structures, and if so, where do they go then? Is there a sensible ratio of fire stair capacity to occupancy? Is it enough to cluster all stairwells in the core or must I add hardened stairwells at 2, 3, or all 4 remote corners? Have I designed in escape routes for the disabled? Does ADA require me to, if the downside is a certain loss of life? Does my project require such an extreme of physical activity to evacuate so as to extend the concept of "disabled" to include those who are aged, out of shape, obese, injured? If the project uses multiple sky lobbies and elevator banks, what are the drawbacks of having some shafts extend the entire height of the project? Do such longer shafts need extra strength and automatic foam or other types of fire extinguishment capability built in, or, for that matter, blast-proof doors?" And so on.

For me, the big surprise was how, as I followed up on the question of how to get down from above the impact points (and yes, Barry, you are so right, I have found no name of anyone who escaped from above either impact point after the time of impact), and followed the "locked door" problem, the entire issue devolved from one of simple negligence to one of just another Developer having gotten its way with its project to the ultimate detriment of its customers. As with any such Developer-abuse incident, the more powerful the Developer and the more exempt it is from code controls, the worse the ultimate disaster, whether man-made or of natural causes.

What comes to mind are White Star and the Titanic, Mulholland/DWP and the St. Francis Dam (although it is said Mulholland was haunted by guilt for years by the design failures), and the Army Corps of Engineers and the Teton Dam (which apparently halted earth-fill dam projects for decades). The "United States Fire Administration" report on the 1993 WTC bombing, , suggests that much of what happened 9/11 were lessons already learned in 1993, and while in diplomatic language, it seemed to suggest as possible the 9/11 result, or even a far worse result, was inherent in the project -- ANYTHING that severed the water supply to the top floors (I think the report mentioned that being one pipe in a 110 story stack of utility closets, or one 8" loop in the basement, with no redundancy, but I'm not sure), while starting multiple high-temperature fires high enough in the project to place it beyond any practical "defend-in-place" firefighting strategy and penetrating the 3 (or 4?) stairwells could cause massive loss of life, jet fuel being only one of a number of possible agents.

I would hope that anyone with design or security influence in any landmark project will return to that USFA report, study it, consider their current project in light of that report and what happened at Ground Zero, and take such actions as are necessary to minimize any possible repeat of the 9/11 result. Our lives are in their hands.

> Best wishes


--Mike Barkley, 161 N. Sheridan Ave. #1, Manteca, CA 95336
(H) 209/823-4817 - MS is not Microsoft.
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--Mike Barkley, 161 N. Sheridan Ave. #1, Manteca, CA 95336 (H) 209/823-4817