Mandarin Oriental

The 2009 fire at the Beijing Mandarin Oriental hotel, part of the TVCC complex there, is a recent darling of the controlled demolition advocates. The night shots of this 34-story building on fire are quite impressive. And to see the Mandarin Oriental structure still standing after that nightmarish fire does cause one to question the collapse of the World Trade Center buildings, especially the 47-floor Building 7.

However, there are some notable differences between the two events. First, the design and construction of the Mandarin Oriental building only began after its builder, ARUP East Asia, had conducted a thorough internal study of the WTC collapses(pdf).

Arup’s response to the World Trade Center disaster was swift, establishing an Extreme Events Mitigation Task Force charged with evaluating the risks of disasters similar to those that have taken place in recent years, analysing the technical challenges they represent and developing design solutions to address them. With typical zeal, and chaired by the late Tony Fitzpatrick, then chairmanof Arup’s Americas region, the task force mobilised the might of the firm’s in-house research and development capabilities and specialist teams on tall buildings, fire, materials, structural analysis and other disciplines to see what lessons could be learnt from the World Trade Centre disaster.

For example, instead of the steel-only structural framework of Building 7, ARUP used a combination of concrete and steel framing for the TVCC building.

Another major differences are the response to the fires. Those incredible shots of the Mandarin Oriental on fire were taken during the first hour of the fire. The firefighters were able to gain control of the blaze in about an hour, fully extinguishing the fire six hours after it began. By contrast, the fires in Building 7 were never fought, because what access the FDNY had to water could not reach the building.

This opportunistic treatment of a building fire is simply what AE911Truth does. It has a list of four other buildings to guide understanding, but an deeper look into them all show how the comparisons don’t add up. The Mandarin Oriental fire is only the latest example. That the builder of the hotel building did a comprehensive study of the 9/11 collapses before designing the TVCC building is what truly makes this one of AE911Truth’s top 10 mistakes.