The twelve-alarm fire burned for 18 hours. The extreme heat caused window glass and frames to melt and concrete floor slabs and steel beams to buckle and sag dramatically. Large shards of window glass fell from the facade, cutting through fire hoses on the ground around the building. Three firefighters were trapped on a fully engulfed floor, and efforts to rescue them failed.
The fire would not yield and there were increasing concerns about the stability of the structure. Fire officials called off the attack and allowed the fire to "free burn," concentrating their efforts on containing the fire to this building. When the fire reached the 30th floor, a tenant-installed fire-sprinkler system was activated, and the worst high-rise fire in U.S. history was finally brought under control.
Yet the building remained standing. Quite a contrast to the New York Times insistence that fire brought down World Trade Tower 7. Indeed it must be recalled that outside of 9-11, no steel framed building has ever collapsed from fire either before or since 9-11, and building 7, housing government offices, was built to federal requirements, which greatly exceed the normal building codes of the other, non-collapsed buildings.