Arabs and Osama
First Time in History
The Fires
The Twin Towers
World Trade Cener 7
The Free Fall Fallacy
Molten Steel Explained
Sounds of Explosions
The Firemans Quotes
Civil Engineers Quotes
Peer Reviewed Paper
Professor Steven E Jones
Massive Conspriracy
The Real Conspiracy
Government Planning
The 911 Zogby Poll
Debunking 911 Links

The Windsor Tower, Madrid fire

This fire is one of the fires Conspiracy theorist like to point to when talking about high raise office fires. This fire lasted 26 hours. But what they don't tell you is that the first collapse happened only 2 hours and 30 minutes after the fire began. But why didn't the building fall completely? It was on fire for 26 hours. The answer is very simple. The building were constructed very differently than the WTC. Reinforced concrete was used in the core and under the 17th floor. Below are detailed descriptions of how the Madrid tower was constructed and the reason for it not collapsing...

What you see above is the concrete reinforced core. What's missing is the steel around the core of the upper floors which was not covered in concrete. As with the towers, it weakened and collapsed early in the fire.

Madrid Steel Collapses

The building totaled 32 story's, with 29 floors above ground and three below. A concrete core and concrete frame supported the first 16 floors. Above that was a central support system of concrete columns, supporting concrete floors with steel perimeter columns. An additional feature was the presence of two 'technical floors' - concrete floors designed to give the building more strength. One was just above the ground level and the other at the 17th floor.


The fire protection on the existing steelworks below the 17th floor had been completed at the time of fire except for the 9th and 15th floors. When the fire spread below the 17th floor, those protected perimeter columns survived, except for the unprotected columns at the 9th and 15th floors which all buckled in the multiple floor fire (see Figure 2). However, they did not cause any structural collapse. Obviously, the applied loads supported by these buckled columns had been redistributed to the remaining reinforced concrete shear walls. Nevertheless, structural fire analysis should be carried out before such a conclusion can be drawn.


 A survey of the fire damaged structure of the Windsor Tower, Madrid, has concluded that the concrete structure “performed extraordinarily well in a severe fire”. The study, ‘Fire in the Windsor building, Madrid: Survey of the fire resistance and residual bearing capacity of the structure after the fire’ was carried out by the Spanish Instituto Technico de Materiales y Construcciones (INTEMAC). It underlined the need for fireproofing structural steel concluding that the “need for fireproofing of steel members to guarantee their performance in the event of fire was reconfirmed”.

The Windsor Tower fire started on the 21st floor of the 32 storey building in February 2005. The fire quickly spread due to a lack of fire stops between the curtain wall façade and the concrete floor slabs. Designed and built in the 1970s, the tower was built using traditional design methods. Extensive refurbishment was underway at the time of the fire. Ironically, part of the refurbishment programme was to bring the building’s fire standards up-to-date with the installation of active fire prevention and resistance measures.

Structural failure happened with the collapse of the steel perimeter columns which resulted with the floor slabs collapsing as the edge support was taken away. The massive concrete transfer slab at the 20th floor prevented further progressive failure.


The building had a concrete central core with two rows of reinforced concrete columns in the north-south direction, aligned with the core side walls. The structure above ground was characterized by two transition floors at 3rd and 17th Floor levels, which housed plant and services.

The typical floor slab construction was reinforced concrete bi-directional ribbed slabs, spanning onto composite steel beams in the east-west direction. The slabs were supported along the perimeter by steel columns, supplemented by reinforced concrete columns on two sides below 17th Floor level.

The transition floors were formed with solid RC slabs and deep beams. The original facade mullions and transoms were fixed to the steel perimeter columns, and a new facade structure had been added to outside of old facade. The perimeter columns in turn were supported by transition structures at 17th and 3rd Floor levels.

The central concrete core appeared to perform well in the fire and on initial observations seems to have played a major role in ensuring the stability of the building throughout the incident. The role of cores in multiple floor fires is now an immediate area of study required for the industry, and Arup have commenced investigating this issue.

A thermo-mechanical assessment of this structural design, an understanding of why the structure performed as it did and why total collapse did not occur would provide valuable information for future structural fire analysis in design.

It would assist in the strong move now towards structural fire engineered buildings, and therefore help with the move away from reliance on Building Code based single element testing and associated fire proofing techniques which do not address real and structural behavior in real fires.


Recently the conspiracy theorist have begun using another building to use as a comparison.

The Parque Central was a 56 storey government office building in Caracas, Venezuela. The fire started on the 34th floor and climbed to the 47th floor. That's not similar to the WTC 7 because the fires were on the lower levels. The building didn't have a tube in a tube design like any of the WTC buildings either.

The single most important difference are in the columns.

The reinforced concrete structure consists of perimeter columns connected by post-tensioned concrete “macroslabs” that are each 10 feet (3 meters) deep and above the second–floor mezzanine, the 14th, 26th, 38th, and 49th floors. There’s no central core.

Individual floors between the macroslabs have a steel-deck floor supported by steel beams, all protected underneath with spray-on Cafco Blaze Shield DC/F mineral glass fiber wool with cement fireproofing. According to Cafco’s Manny Herrera, the floor was designed to meet U.S. standards for a two-hour fire resistance rating. However, the overall fire compartmentalization of each floor slab was decreased by the addition of several unrated floor panels to provide access to mechanical and plumbing systems.

Five structural bays rest on four lines of columns in each direction supporting the steel deck. In effect, the concrete structure includes five stacked steel buildings, each supported by a macroslab. During the fire, two steel decks partially collapsed; other than that, there was no collapse inside the building. However, deflection in some steel beams was severe.

The fire was also aggressively fought for a period of time.:

Commanders at the scene decided to bring a 2-inch (63-millimeter) hose line, fed by fire engines at the ground level, all the way up one of the fire stairs. Two portable booster pumps, each flowing 264 gallons per minute (gpm) at 58 psi (1,000 liters per minute [lpm] at 4 bar), were used to provide adequate pressure above the fire floor.

At approximately 1:15 a.m., firefighters working with two 1-inch (38-millimeter) hose lines from different locations above the 34th floor were able to slow the upward movement of the fire considerably. By 3 a.m., a second 2-inch (63-millimeter) hose line, identical to the first one, had been put into service, and firefighters confined the fire to three to four floors above the 34th floor. This approach was successful through the first five or six hours of the fire, when the fire spread vertically at a rate of approximately one floor every three hours. The 27th floor became the main staging area for about 100 firefighters.

At 7 a.m., some of the booster pumps started to malfunction, and the fire regained intensity, spreading vertically at a rate of about one floor per hour until approximately 10 a.m. Around 11 a.m., the fire breeched the fifth macroslab, below the 39th floor, and around noon, the stairwells’ fire enclosure started to fail. Concerned that the building might collapse, the fire chief immediately ordered that interior firefighting operations be abandoned. It should be noted that the CFD only reported minor injuries among its personnel during this risky operation.

The fire continued to move upwards through the afternoon, at a rate of about 2 1/2 floors per hour. Between 2 and 3 p.m., the Venezuelan government began using helicopters with water buckets, commonly used on forest fires, in an unsuccessful attempt to slow the fire down.

The fire eventually burned itself out at 3 a.m. on Monday morning, after spreading and consuming the contents of some 17 floors, more than 24 hours after it began.

Past history and performance shows that this fire could probably have been controlled quickly by a standard wet-pipe sprinkler system and that the fire department’s chances of controlling the fire at, or a few floors above, the floor of fire origin would have increased if the standpipe system had been working. This fire highlights the importance of periodic inspection, testing, and maintenance of fire protection systems, as well as the importance of strictly following manufacturers’ installation instructions.

This incident once again reminds us of the fire safety challenges high-rise buildings present and demonstrates that no fire department, no matter how large, professional, and well-equipped, can effectively control a fire without properly designed passive and functioning active fire protection systems. The CFD performed admirably in an impossible task, and its commanders made difficult decisions that ultimately proved to be the correct ones.


The towers and building 7 were essentially bolted together like an erector set. No concrete was used to create a ridged block or protect the columns. The steel webbing was pushed to the outer walls.

A challenge to conspiracy theorist:

1) Find a steel frame building at least 40 stories high

2) Which takes up a whole city block

3) And is a "Tube in a tube" design

4) Which came off its core columns at the bottom floors (Earthquake, fire, whatever - WTC 7)

5) Which was struck by another building or airliner and had structural damage as a result.

6) And weakened by fire for over 6 hours

7) which had trusses that were bolted on with two 5/8" bolts.

And after all seven tests are met the building didn't fall down.

Anything less than meeting these seven tests is dishonest because it's not comparing apples with apples. Showing a much lighter 4, 5 or even 15 story building which doesn't even take up a city block, and has an old style steel web design leaves out the massive weight the 47 story WTC 7 had bearing down on it's south face columns. Yes, this is "moving the bar" back to where it should have started.

It is an absurdity to expect these buildings to perform the same during a collapse. This is why it's the first time in history these buildings fell as they did. It's the first time in history buildings constructed like this collapsed.

So what have we learned from the conspiracy theorist? Something the NIST realized long ago. Concrete makes good insulation.

Back to Fire

Home | Osama Bin Laden | First time in history | Free Fall | The Fire | The Twin Towers | Impacts | Fires and Fire Proofing | Columns and Trusses Towers Collapse | WTC 7 | WTC 7 South Side | WTC 7 Photos | Squelching "Squibs" | Rethinking Thermite | Explosions | Firemen Quotes
Civil Engineers Quotes | Prof. Steven Jones | Massive Conspiracy | Zogby | Real Conspiracy | Government Planning | Molten Steel
Peer-reviewed Papers | Iron Burns!!! | Madrid/Windsor Tower |
Conspiracy Theorist Hall of Fame | Fire Gallery 1 | Fire Gallery 2 | Fire Gallery 3
General Fires Gallery