Another tragedy, another sad opportunity for ugly conspiracy theories.
In the aftermath of the horrendous fire that ripped through a 24-story high-rise block in West London killing at least 30 people, there was an abundance of these theories on 4chan /pol/, the hotbed of the alt-right.
The majority revolved around the fact that, although Grenfell Tower was engulfed by a massive blaze for hours, it didn’t collapse on itself.
Unsurprisingly, many people made comparisons with the 9/11 terrorist attacks, in particular with 7 World Trade Center’s collapse and the so-called “controlled demolition theories” which claim the building was taken down by explosives installed in advance.
“London fire. Shitty, old building. Burning intensely on every floor. No collapse,” said one post.
“9/11. Double steel reinforced skyscrapers, created to withstand a collision from a 747. Fire on 5-10 floors. Building 7 didn’t even really have a fire. North and South tower collapse in free fall after an hour. WTC 7 randomly collapses in free fall as well.”
Some American YouTubers, like radio personality Lionel Nation, also chipped in the controversy with a video entitled “Why Didn’t the Grenfell Towers Collapse After Burning for Over 12 Hours?”
It turns out, there’s an actual scientific explanation for why the tower didn’t collapse.
As explained by Dr John Knapton, emeritus professor of structural engineering at Newcastle University, it all has to do with a change in regulation in 1971 after a gas explosion at a high-rise in East London.
“I don’t think this building will collapse because in 1968, a block of flats at Ronan Point in East London partly collapsed as a result of a gas explosion in a kitchen,” he told The Telegraph.
“As a result of that, the design of tower blocks in the UK changed from about 1971 onwards. From then on, the design had to allow for an explosion or a fire to remove part of the supporting structure and for the building to remain standing. “
The reason why the Twin Towers collapsed is due to the ignition caused by the aircraft fuel inside the building, the expert said. The burning of the contents of the building caused the steel columns to lose stiffness.
“UK buildings are much more robust, or tolerant of losing structural capacity than the Twin Towers,” he said.
Maybe now we can stop with these theories and focus on why the fire spread so rapidly.