WTC Chief Electrical Design Engineer Calls for New 9/11 Investigation: An Exclusive Interview with Richard Humenn, P.E.E.
Written by Mike Bondi, PEng. Monday, 16 July 2012 16:03
Richard Humenn’s status as Chief WTC Electrical Design Engineer didn’t stop him from challenging the official 9/11 story in Experts Speak Out
Some of the most compelling testimony in the new AE911Truth documentary, 9/11: Explosive Evidence – Experts Speak Out, comes from Richard Humenn, P.E.E. As Chief Electrical Design Engineer of the World Trade Center complex, Humenn is intimately familiar with the design and structural integrity of the Twin Towers. He was also a member of the Army Corps of Engineers and trained at Fort Belvoir, where he learned demolition practices for bridges and other structures. He began publicly questioning the official 9/11 story in 2009 after watching 9/11: Blueprint for Truth, and he fully supports the 1700 architects and engineers at AE911Truth who are calling for a real investigation.
I recently had the opportunity to speak to Humenn and ask him some in-depth questions about the destruction of the WTC skyscrapers and why the explanation from the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) doesn’t add up. The following is a series of excerpts from that interview.
Mike Bondi (MB): As the chief electrical engineer for the WTC complex, what were some of your main responsibilities?
During the 1960s and 1970s, Humenn’s main focus was designing the inner workings of the WTC skyscrapers
Richard Humenn (RH): I worked for Joseph R. Loring & Associates from 1957 to 1996 – some 40 years. We were selected as the electrical engineers [for the WTC] in the early ‘60s, and Joe Loring assigned me as the responsible engineer to supervise a team of other engineers, designers and draftsman to produce the contract construction drawings. I personally wrote the specifications for the project. During the course of the design period, I attended meetings with the Port Authority, the architect, and other consultants. We learned from the other consultants exactly what they were doing, particularly regarding the mechanical, structural and elevator systems. All of us became very closely aware of what was going on with all the other trades.
I designed the network power distribution system, including the network transformers for the substations, the emergency generator system, elevator evacuation system, under-floor wiring system through a network of cells in the floor that met trenches surrounding the core, and ultimately fed into the electric closet and the panels. I designed the lighting system, fixtures, and central lighting control system for the entire project throughout all the buildings. I also designed the fire alarm, intercom and public address system – used for the first time in a high-rise building. During the course of the design, we visited manufacturers in the production of the equipment, witnessed tests, and particularly the network transformer prototype was subjected to severe testing. I must emphasize that they were ventilated dry-type transformers – no fluids, nothing that could burn.
For the first time, we designed a temporary light and power system to be used during construction, but we utilized permanent components to be built up during construction to also serve temporary power for the machines, elevators, etc.
Humenn was intimately involved in the planning and construction of the Twin Towers from beginning to end
MB: Once the buildings were operating, what were you responsible for?
RH: We did all the tenant work, which was the outfitting of office spaces [as well as] almost continuous studies that the Port Authority asked us to do concerning future improvements. One of the last studies I was on was the replacement of motor generator sets for the elevator system with solid-state controllers. There [were always] ongoing studies up to the time I retired.
MB: Were you there in 1993 when the WTC was bombed?
RH: No, I was in Oman on a special assignment. I did watch TV – CNN International. When they showed the damage that had occurred that absolutely wiped out many floors all the way down to the refrigeration and generator plants, and wiped out the fire alarm control center, some expert came on and said a transformer must have blown up. I immediately faxed my office and said that was no transformer blowing up; that was a terrorist attack – it was a controlled explosion. A few months later, they called me back to the States and I was part of the team to develop ideas on how to further protect the towers from any other terrorist attacks, but the main concentration was vehicle attacks – no one ever thought for a moment that a plane could be used as an attack mechanism.
“ If the official story was true, the interior and most of the exterior columns would still be standing – that’s the clue to me that the [NIST] reports were faulty ”
MB: Wasn’t the building originally designed with that possibility in mind?
RH: Yes, there was a simulated test done of the accident that happened to the Empire State Building where a 707 hit the Empire State Building and did severe damage at that point. They simulated a plane hitting the towers, and the result of the test was that the plane would break up before it even got to the interior columns. The only solid part of the plane would have been the engine – that could have skidded in and hit an interior column. The real fact of the matter was when they were showing some shots after the attack on Tower 1, the lights were on in the lobby, so the power was not interrupted throughout the building as the power was distributed on two of the interior columns. If the interior columns were hit by the plane, we would have lost power immediately.
MB: How was the test of the plane hitting the towers done?
RH: It was a simulated test. [Structural Engineer] Les Robertson admitted that the test did not include the impact of the fuel exploding. In the actual impact on the Empire State Building, as I understand it, the fuel did not catch on fire.
Editor’s Note: In a 1993 interview, Chief WTC Structural Engineer John Skilling said that jet fuel fires were taken into account: “The biggest problem would be the fact that all the fuel would dump into the building. There would be a horrendous fire [but] the building structure would still be there.”
The violent ejections of building material that were seen during the collapse of the Twin Towers was a telltale sign to Humenn that explosives were used
MB: So the test showed that in general, the structure of the plane would have broken apart before doing significant damage to the core?
MB: In relation to the events of September 11, 2011, what were some of the key things that you observed that made you ask questions about the explanations being given in the mainstream media?
RH: I actually woke up to my radio alarm, and instead of my usual station playing music, it was CNN on the radio, and I heard the news anchor saying that a small plane had hit Tower 1. I went into the kitchen, turned on the TV, and when I saw a close-up of the damage to the upper floors, I said to myself that was no small plane – that was a huge plane. Ultimately they showed other shots – as I said, in the lobby the lights were still on – so continuing to be glued to the TV, it was like the radio program by Orson Wells – War of the Worlds – I watched in disbelief what was happening.
Just before Tower 2 went down, I saw a replay of the plane hitting Tower 2, and at that point I said that was no accident – it had to be a terrorist attack. I noticed that there were puffs of smoke and glass being blown out at the lower floors of the towers, and my immediate thought was this was a coordinated terrorist attack. Not only did the planes hit the tower, but there were explosives set off within the building to do additional damage – that was my impression.
The other thing I noticed just before Tower 1 started to collapse, the antenna started to fall, and that led me to believe right away that the interior columns, which were the mainstay of the support of the antenna, were compromised. I totally discounted the original pancake theory, because if the connections to the columns from the floor trusses to the columns were broken, those columns would have been left standing all the way up to the top – only the floors would have collapsed. I knew something was awry then, and not too long after that [I was invited] to be interviewed and was shown some presentations by AE911Truth, which more or less confirmed [what I had previously thought]. My statement was that the planes alone did not bring down the towers.
As Chief Electrical Design Engineer, Humenn was keenly aware of the layout of core columns, elevator shafts and other key structural components of the WTC buildings
MB: If the official story were true, what do you think we should have witnessed on 9/11?
RH: If the official story was true, the interior and most of the exterior columns would still be standing – that’s the clue to me that the reports were faulty.
MB: Given what you know of demolition practices through your military training, do you think we witnessed controlled demolitions?
RH: [During the Korean War] our best explosive was C-4. We learned to build bridges and then blow them up – how to place charges where they would be most effective. [If this was a deceptive controlled demolition] I don’t think they did a very good job of hiding it. All of the interior columns had to be compromised at multiple points. [There were] 50 or so interior columns that surrounded the elevator shafts. I would expect that if I were to attempt to bring the columns down, I would place some kind of thermite explosive inside the columns at maybe 30-foot intervals.
MB: In regards to the elevator shafts, it has been suggested that burning jet fuel travelled through them down to the lobby of the twin towers. Is this possible?
“ The NIST report says that it was the fires that did it. There’s no way – fire is not going to bring down a steel building. ”
RH: That’s impossible – the volatility of airplane fuel is such that any flame would go up – there’s no way for the fuel to flow down, because it would have all burned up right where it was. When the plane penetrated the walls, there would have been an immediate updraft. Even smoke wouldn’t go down – it would go up and out where the exposed areas were – where the planes had hit.
MB: So all the damage in the lobby – evidence of bombs in the lobby and basement levels – you don’t see any way that came from the upper levels?
RH: No way – those had to be totally independent incidents.
MB: Knowing the buildings so well, do you think that a controlled demolition could have been set up without attracting the attention of building occupants?
RH: My only theory is that the only people who had 24/7 access to the elevator shafts was the elevator maintenance company. They did a lot of their work after hours. They inspected rails and all the interiors of the shaft for safety reasons. A team of men working from an elevator that they control could have access from the top to all the interior columns from the inside. There’s no way there could have been access from the outside, because people would have noticed. But inside, at least two or three sides of each column were exposed and could be penetrated by a drill or something to insert some form of explosive [with a remote-controlled blasting cap].
AE911Truth founder Richard Gage, AIA, and Richard Humenn, P.E.E., are just two of the hundreds of architects and engineers who have called for a real investigation of the WTC catastrophe
MB: Do you have any thoughts on who might have had the necessary access to the core columns?
RH: When I was dealing with them, the elevator company was ACE. They were very good people – they helped me with some of my studies. There was always constant maintenance of the rails which guided the elevators on each side.
MB: What do you think of NIST’s explanation for the collapse of WTC7? Have they adequately accounted for the 2.25-second period of free-fall acceleration of the building?
RH: The NIST report says that it was the fires that did it. There’s no way – fire is not going to bring down a steel building. Some other external heat source such as thermite could have compromised the connections between the girders and trusses. [To give an analogy:] if you cut the feet, the whole body falls. Both the interior and exterior columns were ringed at every floor with deep girders. They were effectively cages, with both vertical and horizontal supports. If the columns were cut, the girders would come down with them. As far as the exterior columns are concerned, they were much smaller than the interior columns. With the theory that the connections to the floor did not fail, then the floors, as they were coming down, pulled the exterior columns with them. The interior columns were so massive they could not have been pulled down by the connections to the floors.
MB: Some people have asked why fireproofing on steel is necessary if the building isn’t going to collapse due to fire anyway. Is it only to prevent local damage in an intense fire?
RH: Basically, yes. The main floor supports were trusses. It would have been virtually impossible to encase them in concrete, which is the normal fire-proofing method, so they use the spray-on fire-proofing. Some of it could have been knocked off when the planes hit, but only locally. I’m sure there were fires from the furniture, carpets, paper, etc. that continued to burn after the jet fuel was burned up, but they would not reach a temperature [sufficient] to severely damage any structural members.
MB: I’m sure you’ve seen the videos with molten metal streaming from the corners of the buildings. There have been theories suggesting that it was molten aluminum from the planes. Do you think it was aluminum, or were we seeing cutter changes and molten steel?
RH: I would think it was the cutter charges, because if the whole plane penetrated the building, it would have broken up into many small pieces, and not necessarily consumed by fire.
MB: As someone with extensive knowledge of the WTC buildings from a technical perspective, what would you say to anyone who still believes that the official explanation is valid?
RH: I go back to my original statement that knowing the structure and the strength of the interior columns, the planes alone could not have brought down the towers. I leave it open as to what else brought them down, but I don’t go with any theory that the planes alone were the reason. I can’t get out of my mind seeing evidence of some kind of explosions happening on the lower floors before the towers collapsed. I remember seeing it in real-time on TV. Something was happening on the lower floors, just before collapse. I later [noted] that the transformers were so heavy they would have gone down before the floors collapsed – they would have ended up at the bottom, making gigantic holes going down.
Editor’s Note: There were 32 transformers in the substations on the mechanical floors in each tower. We are aware of no evidence that they were ever found.
You can hear the explosive testimony of Richard Humenn and that of dozens of other highly qualified technical professionals in the Final Edition of 9/11 Explosive Evidence – Experts Speak Out, which is now available for online viewing and download. You can also purchase the deluxe two-DVD set and share it with your friends and family. With your help, the voices of these experts will resonate around the globe.