When the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) released the final report in October 2005 from its technical investigation of the fires and collapses of the World Trade Center (WTC) towers on Sept. 11, 2001, many in the building design, construction, fire, rescue, safety and legislative communities praised the three-year effort as the authoritative accounting of the events that took place and began working with NIST to use the report's 30 recommendations to improve building codes, standards and practices. However, there have been claims from "alternative theory" groups that factors other than those described in the NIST report brought the towers down.
To respond to a number of the questions raised, NIST has posted a fact sheet on the investigation Web site (http://wtc.nist.gov). The fact sheet explains how NIST found no corroborating evidence for alternative hypotheses suggesting that the WTC towers were brought down by controlled demolition using explosives planted prior to 9/11, or that missiles were fired at or hit the towers. Instead, the fact sheet describes how photographs and videos from several angles clearly showed that the collapse initiated at the fire and impact floors and that the collapse progressed from the initiating floors downward, until the dust clouds obscured the view.