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Tower block fire aids 9/11 debate

BBC | August 3 2006

A high-rise block in Glasgow has been set alight in an attempt to understand how blazes affect buildings and ensure future safety in emergencies.

Jose Torero, professor of fire safety engineering at the University of Edinburgh, conducted the experiment on a 24-storey tower block in Dalmarnock.

He also hopes it will shed light on why the Twin Towers collapsed on 9/11.

Prof Torero said he believed the World Trade Centre in New York should have "withstood burnout" after it was hit.

The collapse of the towers in September 2001, after they were hit by hijacked aircraft, resulted in the deaths of almost 2,800 workers and 350 firefighters and emergency workers.

Prof Torero said: "It didn't even cross my mind the buildings would collapse.

"From my perspective, those buildings were designed to last structurally for between three to four hours, enough time to get everyone out who had survived.

The experiment took place in a block of flats on Millerfield Place and Allan Street.

In one room, more than nine miles of cable and sensors were installed.

He said: "The concept is that if we can get an accurate idea of what's happening inside the building I can lead people to safety and minimise the growth of the fire."

A BBC Horizon programme, to be broadcast in the next few months, is looking at Prof Torero's experiment.

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