Comparisons between 9-11 and the Fuel Truck that Hit a Bridge in SF

I don’t know if anybody has picked up on this or not, but I’d like to make a passing observation about the loaded fuel truck that hit a bridge in the Bay Area, and the jets that crashed into the World Trade Center.

First, the specifications:

A fully loaded 767 holds 23,980 U.S. gallons of fuel. (source) (second source)

The tanker that crashed under a freeway overpass in the Bay Area had 8,600 gallons of fuel. (source)

Take away

Is this clear evidence that it’s possible to melt a building like the World Trade Center with fuel? I think it is.


The single-vehicle crash occurred on the lower roadway when the tanker, loaded with 8,600 gallons of unleaded gasoline and heading from a refinery in Benicia to a gas station on Hegenberger Road in Oakland, hit a guardrail at 3:41 a.m.

Engineers said the green steel frame of the I-580 overpass and the bolts holding the frame together began to melt and bend in the intense heat — and that movement pulled the roadbed off its supports.

Also, from this SFGate article:

Firefighters immediately noticed the upper connector ramp was buckling and seven minutes after they arrived — at 4:02 a.m. — it collapsed, Price said. Now there were no more structures threatened, the firefighters’ approach shifted.

The truck hit at 3:41 a.m., which is consistent with the timeframe in which the WTC collapsed.

A lot of people have argued that it is impossible for the WTC to have collapsed and that the fuel wouldn’t have been hot enough. I’m not an engineer, and maybe these are two completely different scenarios, but you have to agree it’s interesting to think about.

Feel free to debate in the comments.

15 responses to “Comparisons between 9-11 and the Fuel Truck that Hit a Bridge in SF”

  1. Good observation there, Chris. I’m no expert either, but I’m just glad you think so openly about this. A lot of people simply accept (or doubt) everything, without challenging their own ideas.

  2. i looked up some of those links. I dont find the conspiracy to be very convincing. This isn’t like the moon landing. Interesting about the bridge though. I dont know what the burning temp is for unleaded compared to kerosene. Either way i am still on the terrorists did it wagon. (though I wouldn’t be opposed to believing that the gov’t set it up)

  3. I am not exactly shocked that conspiracy theories continue. Though I certainly am disappointed.

  4. Actually the government did set it up. See it was all conceived in tiny shack just behind the White House. George Bush, the same guy who is called an idiot everywhere else except in this conspiracy theory, told several thousand staff members, military, cia, etc. that if they told anyone about the plot to take down the WTC they would not get their yearly raise.

    And so GWB himself shot really, really, big RPG’s (they looked alot like planes) at the WTC and not one person on the “inside” said a word because they all wanted a raise. So you can really blame greed for it all. Heck, you can just blame capitalism while your at it.

  5. Several thousand people in the gov’t would need to know what was happening? Yet you will believe that it was a close door plot of like 9 foreigners who actually pulled it off?

    Again not saying that it wasn’t that. The reality is that in the end 9/11 has caused us more problems from our gov’t by means of the Patriot Act and other even less constitutional policies than the killing of 3000 people by terrorists caused.

    Its worth looking into all possible options rather than simply stating that it would be too complicated to be done by our government.

    If we follow Occam’s Razor then what is the simplest explanation if we shave off all of the unnecessary information.

  6. I’m no engineer, and I know nothing about fuel, but one thing comes to mind: maybe unleaded gasoline burns hotter than regular jet fuel?

  7. Austin, the difference.

    The 9 that did it, wanted the world to know who did it. If the govt did it, they would not. Thats where the size of this thing would come into play.

    As for the heating itself, you don’t have to melt the steel, just soften it, and it will begin to buckle, as it buckles, it will heat itself up even more (compression).

    If the planes would have struck the empire state building, it likely would not have fallen. It was as much the construction style of the WTC that lead to their collapse. There were no big crossbeams under the floors. There were ledges that the steel floorplates sat on, once those were weakened, the entire floor would fall.

    The conspiracy theorists all have on thing in common…from JFK, to the Moon, to Tupac… they all believe that a lack of evidence, is, in itself, evidence.

  8. I believe that there is TOO MUCH evidence and that is why it is probably not the obvious choice in any of those cases. Bureaucracy doesn’t understand the less is more principle. That is why they insist on planting massive amounts of evidence. More than would actually have been there under normal circumstances of such a moon visit, or terrorist attack.

    Tupac and JFK were assassinations so there was already some conspiracy and would leave little evidence.

  9. If anyone is convinced that the gov’t was behind 9/11 then I’m pretty pissed that you’re being so cordial about that belief.

    If I was convinced that person X mercilessly slaughtered my entire family for the sake of political gain and got away with it I wouldn’t be spending my time debating about it on internet forums.

    Personally, I don’t think that people really believe the conspiracy theories…believing in them just fulfills some weird underdog mindset that people have. It’s almost as if we draw ourselves toward believing whatever is contrary to popular belief…not due to any reason or logic, but simply because it is out of favor with the masses..

  10. Widely published reports of short sales of stock of American
    and United Airlines were NOT explained. Short sales / ‘puts’ always leave a paper trail. (IRS watches these.) Keeping secret the identity of the short seller(s) leaves all open to suspicion. The president has a brother and an uncle who are securities dealers. Members of the Senate Intelligence Committed (Kerry), CIA officials, SEC officials, Mossad, are all placed under the cloud of suspicion if the truth is kept concealed. Perhaps, even some one in ‘brainfuel’!!!!

  11. Well… coming from someone 3 weeks from a Civil Engineering degree, I do have to say it’s not like comparing apples to apples. High Rise buildings are built significantly differently than short highway overpasses. As such, the connections (which are the things that failed) are built quite differently. Many high rise buildings are welded together at the joints — to protect against high wind & earthquake loads, as opposed to bolted together — as they noted here.

    But, regardless of that, the reason the Twin Towers fell was because we don’t design buildings to be hit by planes. People can argue conspiracy theories or not — it’s a simple case of an unexpected load combination on the structure that caused failure.

  12. did the steel buckle? yes. but was it pulverized? no.

    i think a collapsing freeway is a little different than an entire skyscraper turned to dust. look at the pics… why didn’t the collapsing concrete become a cloud of dust? in the WTC, we see dust rushing out from the very beginning of the collapse…

    and (as it burns, none the less) it falls on top of another freeway, which DOESN’T collapse…

    and did you know jet fuel and gas, especially diesel, are pretty much comparable? that’s how they smuggle gas… by labeling it jet fuel so it goes untaxed.

    don’t know how accurate the below reference is, but i do believe that there’s no way the jets were at max. fuel capacity… (not, btw, from a conspiracy site:

    “Each jet could carry a maximum of approximately 24,000 gallons of fuel, and for a transcontinental flight each tank would be about 2/3 full. Thus there was about 16,000 gallon of fuel aboard…”

    so about twice the 8,600 gallons of the I-80 accident… how many steel beams in a freeway? how many in a skyscraper?

    and how about WTC 7? there was no crash, no jet fuel… hmmm… i think i still have some questions…

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