Nova (1974– )
3 user

Why the Towers Fell 

Film on the mechanism of collapse of the World Trade Center.

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Episode credited cast:
Jonathan Barnett ... Himself - Professor: Fire Protection Engineering
Brian Clark ... Himself - World Trade Center Survivor
W. Gene Corley ... Himself - Structural Engineer (as Gene Corley)
Sal D'Agostino ... Himself - Fireman and World Trade Center Survivor
Jan Demczur ... Himself - World Trade Center Survivor
Bill Forney ... Himself - World Trade Center Survivor
Matt Komorowski ... Himself - Fireman and World Trade Center Survivor
Matthys Levy ... Author
... Narrator (voice)
Mike Meldrum ... Himself - Fireman and World Trade Center Survivor
Paul Neal ... Himself - World Trade Center Survivor
Jake Pauls ... Himself - Building Safety Analyst
Stanley Praimnath ... Himself - World Trade Center Survivor
Leslie Robertson ... Himself - World Trade Center Engineer
Charles Thornton ... Himself - Structural Engineer


In the aftermath of the collapse, the questions came quickly and urgently: was it inevitable that such a severely damaged structure would completely collapse? Or was there something about the building's design or construction that made it especially susceptible to failure? What exactly caused that failure-fire, heat, internal damage? Was the evacuation plan adequate enough to save the maximum number of lives? And are other tall buildings just as vulnerable to collapse when the blast is great and the fire uncontrolled? In the gray wasteland of smoke and dust and mangled steel that was once the third tallest building in the world, forensic engineers began sifting the wreckage for clues and answers to these and other structural truths. This blue-ribbon team of engineers is nearing the end of its task, and NOVA has been there from the beginning, following its investigation of the causes of the calamity. Why the Towers Fell presents the engineers' conclusions in the most definitive ... Written by Anonymous

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Release Date:

April 2002 (USA)  »

Filming Locations:


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Technical Specs

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Aspect Ratio:

1.33 : 1
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Did You Know?


Featured in 911 Mysteries Part 1: Demolitions (2006) See more »

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User Reviews

So many similarities to the fictional "Towering Inferno".
13 May 2018 | by See all my reviews

Fascinating and eerie. Essentially , a prime example of all that can go wrong at once. All the elevators and sprinklers were in the center of each floor. A weak and unstable distribution of the weight of each floor by a precarious cantilever design using far too small girders, joints, and bolt-connectors. No cinder block to speak of or not used at all. Wallboard was used instead. About all that didn't happen is that electrical wiring didn't catch fire, like in "Inferno". I suspect that, in reality, a similar pancaking effect might have happened in the fictitious story of "The Towering Inferno". Again, the "specs" were not tough enough for a 100-story building, while it did meet building codes designed for much smaller buildings. The architect of the building looks totally "spooked" and guilty about the whole thing . All in the name of more "retail floor space" than the solidly built Empire State Building. Beautifully produced by the BBC and not at all dry or boring (to me). Tastefully produced with a minimum of explicit scenes. When you find out why the "Twin Towers" were selected as targets, you will be very surprised!

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