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“I knew what they were standing on top of,” Giuliani says. “They were standing on top of a cauldron. They were standing on top of fires 2,000 degrees that raged for a hundred days. And they put their lives at risk raising that flag.” [nymag.com]

How Did the WTC Fires
Burn for Months?

The fires in the wreckage of the World Trade Center buildings burned for months despite the best efforts of firefighters and  Mother Nature to extinguish them...

Rain Hampers WTC Recovery Efforts - September 14, 2001

Rescuers racing against the clock in a desperate attempt to find survivors in the World Trade Center's rubble faced a new obstacle Friday: rain. Three days after hijacked passenger jets plowed into the twin 110-story skyscrapers, thunder and lightning brought a torrent of rain to the mammoth heap of ash and twisted wreckage. But sodden rescue workers kept at it during downpours that began around 1 a.m. [Court TV]

Rain Hampers Rescue Effort - September 21, 2001

[H]undreds of rescue workers in yellow slickers continue to dig through the wreckage. They're working amid some heavy rain and lightning. Earlier this morning, a 20-minute lightning storm stopped much of their rescue efforts and sent them scurrying for shelter. The rain is also making it hard for crews to keep their footing. [WNBC]

Click image foir full size

Firefighters investigate a newly-exposed area of the World Trade Center disaster site in New York as welders and excavators continue their work early Thursday morning, Nov. 1, 2001. [firehouse.com]

WTC Fires All But Defeated - December 19, 2001

Firefighters have extinguished almost all but the last remnants of underground fires that have burned at the World Trade Center site for more than three months since the Sept. 11 terrorist attack. The fires that began with the Sept. 11 attacks had been strong enough that firetrucks had to spray a nearly constant jet of water on them. At times, the flames slowed the work of clearing the site. "You couldn't even begin to imagine how much water was pumped in there," said Tom Manley of the Uniformed Firefighters Association, the largest fire department union. "It was like you were creating a giant lake." [CBS News]

It was determined that 3 million gallons of water were hosed on site in the fire-fighting efforts between 9/11 and 9/21 (the day of the tritium measurement; samples 6 and 7 in Table I) (42). In addition, there were two episodes of rain during the same 10-day period: on 9/14 and 9/20,21 (18), totaling 0.9 million gallons of water in the Bathtub area. Considering the neighboring areas, we take 1 million gallons from the rain. Therefore, a total of 4 million gallons of water percolated through the debris in the first 10 days and collected at the bottom of the Bathtub. [llnl.gov]

Four million gallons of water will fill six Olympic sized swimming pools.

An extrapolation of the above figure gives approximately 36 million gallons of water in a 3 month period. To put this in perspective, here is the world's largest swimming pool which holds 66 million gallons:

Capacity: 66 million gallons
Length: 3,323ft (1.01 kilometers)
Area: 20 acres
Depth: Up to 115ft (35 meters)

It took approximately 50% of the capacity of this pool to extinguish the fires in the WTC wreckage over a 3 month period, and even this wasn't enough:

Underground fires raged for months. O'Toole remembers in February [2002] seeing a crane lift a steel beam vertically from deep within the catacombs of Ground Zero. "It was dripping from the molten steel," he said. [Philadelphia Inquirer]

Conventional fires doused by millions of gallons of water over a 5 month period do not burn hot enough to melt steel.

The notion that the fires in the WTC wreckage were conventional defies rational belief.

Thermite provides an explanation for the duration and high temperatures of the fires:

Thermite contains its own supply of oxygen, and does not require any external source such as air. Consequently, it cannot be smothered and may ignite in any environment, given sufficient initial heat. It will burn just as well while underwater, for example, and cannot even be extinguished with water, as water sprayed on a thermite reaction will instantly be boiled into steam. [Answers.com]

See also: 

The Ground Zero Fires Were Not Conventional Fires
The 9/11 WTC Collapses: An Audio-Video Analysis

What Really Happened