The National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) claims in its WTC 7 FAQs that “no blast sounds were heard on audio tracks of video recordings during the collapse of WTC 7 or reported by witnesses.” 1 However, both audio recordings and eyewitness accounts of explosions during the destruction of WTC 7 contradict NIST’s claim.

Although there are not nearly as many eyewitness accounts of explosions in WTC 7 as in WTC 1 and WTC 2, there are a handful of accounts that strongly suggest explosions occurred immediately before and during WTC 7’s destruction. These include:

  • Craig Bartmer, former NYPD officer: “[A]ll of a sudden...I looked up, and... [t]he thing started peeling in on itself.... I started running...and the whole time you’re hearing “thume, thume, thume, thume, thume.” I think I know an explosion when I hear it.” 2
  • First-year NYU medical student identified as Darryl: “[W]e heard this sound that sounded like a clap of thunder.... [T]urned around — we were shocked.... [I]t looked like there was a shockwave ripping through the building and the windows all busted out.... [A]bout a second later the bottom floor caved out and the building followed after that.” 3
  • Kevin McPadden, unaffiliated, volunteer first responder: “And then it was like another two, three seconds, you heard explosions. Like BA-BOOOOOM! And it’s like a distinct sound...BA-BOOOOOM! And you felt a rumble in the ground, like, almost like you wanted to grab onto something.” 4

MSNBC reporter Ashleigh Banfield hears a loud sound from several blocks north of WTC 7 and says, “Oh my god.... This is it.”

These eyewitness accounts are corroborated by MSNBC video footage of reporter Ashleigh Banfield several blocks north of WTC 7. In the video, she hears a loud sound, turns her attention to WTC 7, and says, “Oh my god.... This is it.” 5 About seven seconds after she hears the loud sound, WTC 7 collapses. As David Chandler observes in the video WTC 7: Sound Evidence for Explosions:

“There were two blasts, followed by seven more regularly spaced all in two and a half seconds. Craig Bartmer’s testimony may come to mind: ‘The whole time you’re hearing “thume, thume, thume, thume, thume.”’....

“When we hear the sharp, regular series of sounds in the background, the building has not yet started to fall. When we hear the reporter say, “This is it,” the building has not yet started to fall.... The blasts we heard occurred seconds before the building started to fall.”

In addition to eyewitness accounts of explosions at the time of WTC 7’s destruction, there were eye-witness accounts from two men — Michael Hess (Corporation Counsel for the City of New York) and Barry Jennings (Deputy Director of Emergency Services at the New York City Housing Authority) — who reported experiencing an explosion and smoke in a stairway in the northeast part of WTC 7 prior to the collapse of WTC 1 at 10:28 AM.6

It has been claimed that what Hess and Jennings experienced was the result of debris from WTC 1 impacting WTC 7. However, this claim is not plausible, as Hess and Jennings were in a stairway at the opposite end of WTC 7 (northeast) from where debris impacted the building (southwest), and their account indicates that the explosion and smoke they witnessed occurred before the collapse of WTC 1.7


[1] NIST: Questions and Answers about the NIST WTC 7 Investigation, Question #13.





[6] Hess:; Jennings:

[7] Griffin, David Ray: The Mysterious Collapse of World Trade Center 7 (2009), pp. 84-111.