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Profile: Joe O’Toole

Joe O’Toole was a participant or observer in the following events:

A chunk of hot metal being removed from the North Tower rubble about eight weeks after 9/11.
A chunk of hot metal being removed from the North Tower rubble about eight weeks after 9/11. [Source: Frank Silecchia]In the weeks and months after 9/11, numerous individuals report seeing molten metal in the remains of the World Trade Center:
bullet Ken Holden, who is involved with the organizing of demolition, excavation, and debris removal operations at Ground Zero, will later tell the 9/11 Commission, “Underground, it was still so hot that molten metal dripped down the sides of the wall from [WTC] Building 6.” (9/11 Commission 4/1/2003)
bullet William Langewiesche, the only journalist to have unrestricted access to Ground Zero during the cleanup operation, will describe, “[I]n the early days, the streams of molten metal that leaked from the hot cores and flowed down broken walls inside the foundation hole.” (Langewiesche 2002, pp. 32)
bullet Leslie Robertson, one of the structural engineers responsible for the design of the WTC, describes fires still burning and molten steel still running 21 days after the attacks. (Williams 10/2001 pdf file)
bullet Alison Geyh, who heads a team of scientists studying the potential health effects of 9/11, reports: “Fires are still actively burning and the smoke is very intense. In some pockets now being uncovered, they are finding molten steel.” (Johns Hopkins Public Health Magazine 2001)
bullet Ron Burger, a public health advisor who arrives at Ground Zero on September 12, says that “feeling the heat” and “seeing the molten steel” there reminds him of a volcano. (Lyman 9/2003, pp. 40 pdf file)
bullet Paramedic Lee Turner arrives at the World Trade Center site on September 12 as a member of a federal urban search and rescue squad. While at Ground Zero, he goes “down crumpled stairwells to the subway, five levels below ground.” There, he reportedly sees, “in the darkness a distant, pinkish glow—molten metal dripping from a beam.” (McDonald 9/12/2002)
bullet According to a member of New York Air National Guard’s 109th Air Wing, who is at Ground Zero from September 22 to October 6: “One fireman told us that there was still molten steel at the heart of the towers’ remains. Firemen sprayed water to cool the debris down but the heat remained intense enough at the surface to melt their boots.” (Lounsbury 12/2001)
bullet New York firefighters will recall “heat so intense they encountered rivers of molten steel.” (Lumenick 3/3/2004)
bullet As late as five months after the attacks, in February 2002, firefighter Joe O’Toole sees a steel beam being lifted from deep underground at Ground Zero, which, he says, “was dripping from the molten steel.” (Lin 5/29/2002)
Steven E. Jones, a physics professor from Utah, will claim this molten metal is “direct evidence for the use of high-temperature explosives, such as thermite,” used to deliberately bring down the WTC towers. (MSNBC 11/16/2005) He will say that without explosives, a falling building would have “insufficient directed energy to result in melting of large quantities of metal.” (Jarvik 11/10/2005) There will be no mention whatsoever of the molten metal in the official reports by FEMA, NIST, or the 9/11 Commission. (Federal Emergency Management Agency 5/1/2002; 9/11 Commission 7/24/2004; National Institute of Standards and Technology 9/2005) But Dr. Frank Gayle, who leads the steel forensics aspects of NIST’s investigation of the WTC collapses, will be quoted as saying: “Your gut reaction would be the jet fuel is what made the fire so very intense, a lot of people figured that’s what melted the steel. Indeed it didn’t, the steel did not melt.” (Field 2/7/2004) As well as the reports of molten metal, data collected by NASA in the days after 9/11 finds dozens of “hot spots” (some over 1,300 degrees) at Ground Zero (see September 16-23, 2001).


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