In 2001, Barry Jennings was the Deputy Director of Emergency Services for the New York City Housing Authority. After being called to World Trade Center Building 7 to help coordinate the emergency response on the morning of 9/11, he was trapped in the building for hours by a series of explosions that—according to the official government conspiracy theory—never happened. This is his story.
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JEFF ROSSEN: So now they’re walking back toward the World Trade Center. And as we keep letting you hear the personal stories the survivor stories of exactly what happened inside the World Trade Center when that first plane went in—and of course the collapses since then—we’re going to bring more of those to you now. Barry Jennings, you were on the eighth floor. You work for the city housing department. Explain to me the moment of impact.
BARRY JENNINGS: Well, me and Mr. Hess, the corporation counsel, were on the 23rd floor. I told him, “We gotta get out of here.” We started walking down the stairs. We made it to the 8th floor [later clarified to be the 6th floor]. Big explosion! Blew us back into the 8th floor. And I turned to Hess and I said, “This is it, we’re dead. We’re not gonna make it outta here. . . .”
I took a fire extinguisher and I bust the window out. This gentlemen heard my cries for help. This gentleman right here. And he said kept saying “Stand by, somebody’s coming to get you.” They could they couldn’t get to us for now because they couldn’t find us. You thought that was it. I thought . . . I go, “We’re dead.” I thought that was it. I started praying to Allah that that’s it, we’re going.
In 2001, Barry Jennings was the Deputy Director of Emergency Services for the New York City Housing Authority. After the first plane hit the North Tower at 8:46 AM on the morning of 9/11, Jennings was called to the city’s Office of Emergency Management in World Trade Center Building 7 (WTC 7) along with Corporation Counsel Michael Hess to help coordinate the emergency response. Entering Building 7 together before the strike on the South Tower at 9:03 AM, Jennings and Hess were surprised to discover that the office had been abandoned. Receiving a phone call from his superior, Jennings was warned to leave the building immediately. Descending via the stairwell, Jennings and Hess reached the 6th floor before an explosion blew them back up to the 8th floor, trapping them inside the building. After hours of chaos and confusion, including the collapse of the Twin Towers and repeated attempts to draw the attention of first responders, the pair were finally rescued by firefighters.
Hours later, World Trade Center Building 7, also known as the Salomon Brothers Building, collapsed at free-fall acceleration directly into the path of most resistance. After seven years of investigation, the National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) determined that the building had not come down due to explosives or controlled demolition, as many alleged, or due to structural damage from the collapse of the Twin Towers, an explosion in the building’s fuel oil systems, or any of the other suggestions that had been put forward and retracted by NIST over the course of its investigation. Instead, NIST spokesman Shyam Sunder insisted that the building had collapsed due to ordinary office fires.
SHYAM SUNDER: The collapse of World Trade Center 7 on 9/11 was a rare event. Our study has identified thermal expansion as a new phenomenon that can cause the collapse of a structure. For the first time, we have shown that fire can induce a progressive collapse.
Jennings’ remarkable story was captured by Jeff Rossen, reporting on the ground for WABC-TV, just moments after he and Hess had been rescued from the building. But it wasn’t until several years later that Dylan Avery and Jason Bermas, the creators of Loose Change—the first viral internet documentary—discovered the clip of that interview from the day of 9/11 and realized that Jennings’ testimony was one of the few eyewitness accounts of one of the deepest mysteries of that day: The destruction of WTC 7.
JASON BERMAS: So while we were doing research for, obviously, our next cut of the film, Loose Change: Final Cut—you know, Loose Change Second Edition gave us a real opportunity to go around doing investigation. And we had had so much archived footage sent to us, because this was long before the days of the internet where you get something high-quality on the spot. And Dylan found footage of Barry Jennings that had been unedited that we had not seen that really suggested that he was absolutely in Building Seven.
And we also correlated that with him being with Michael Hess. And Michael Hess was the right-hand man of Giuliani. He was the city corporation counsel. Here’s a still shot of him behind me. And then you can see him here sitting next to Giuliani, so pretty much as close as it gets. And, you know, we made this connection. And actually I had reached out to Hess via email. I heard nothing back—and to, you know, the proper parties, nothing back.
But Dylan tracked down Barry Jennings in his city office and Barry did respond. And Barry said, “Come on down!” So me and Dylan went down with the camera, and once we got in there and started talking to him, I remember like the first thing that I saw—you know, he was obviously, I’d say, not the highest up guy, but very—you know, he had his own office, he was well respected. He had the key to the city. You know, he had talked about the key to the city after this event, and he even told us how he had seen Loose Change Second Edition. Basically, what I can remember: He was pretty sympathetic to our cause. He talked to us about Fahrenheit 9/11.
And from there we tried to find a spot to get him, and I remember he drove us out there. We were in the back, one of his suits hanging up. I remember we even talked about his family, you know, being out in Long Island. Very friendly guy. And we got him on the pier.
And listen: The interview is what it is. We’ve released it in full. We didn’t add anything. We didn’t coerce the guy. And I think what he says is about as telling as it gets.
“As telling as it gets.”
Indeed, Barry Jennings’ story is telling. As the only documented eyewitness testimony of the events taking place inside World Trade Center 7 during the hours of the attack, the accounts of Barry Jennings and Michael Hess are essential to coming to an understanding of the destruction of that building. And, most telling of all, it contradicts the official, government-approved story of Building 7’s destruction in many important ways.
BARRY JENNINGS: As I told you guys before, it was very funny. I was on my way to work and the traffic was excellent. I received a call that a small Cessna had hit the World Trade Center. I was asked to go and man the Office of Emergency Management (OEM) at World Trade Center 7 on the 23rd floor.
As I arrived there, there were police all in the lobby. They showed me the way to the elevator. We got up to the 23rd floor, me and Mr. Hess, who I didn’t know was Mr. Hess at the time. We got to the 23rd floor. We couldn’t get in. We had to go back down. Then security and the police took us to the freight elevators, where they took us back up and we did get in.
Upon arriving into the OEM EOC [Emergency Operations Center], we noticed that everybody was gone. I saw coffee that was on the desk. The smoke was still coming off the coffee. I saw half-eaten sandwiches. And only me and Mr. Hess were up there.
After I called several individuals, one individual told me to leave, and leave right away. Mr. Hess came running back in. He said, “We’re the only ones up here, we gotta get out of here.” He found the stairwell. So we subsequently went to the stairwell and were going down the stairs.
When we reached the 6th floor, the landing that we were standing on gave way. There was an explosion and the landing gave way. And I was left there, hanging. I had to climb back up. And now I had to walk back up to the 8th floor. After getting to the 8th floor, everything was dark. It was dark and it was very, very hot. Very hot.
I asked Mr. Hess to test the phones as I took a fire extinguisher and broke out the windows. Once I broke out the windows, I could see outside below me. I saw police cars on fire. Buses on fire. I looked one way, the building was there. I looked the other way, it was gone.
I was trapped in there for several hours. I was trapped in there when both buildings came down.
The firefighters came. They came to the window. Because I was going to come out on the fire hose. I didn’t want to stay any longer. It was too hot. I was gonna come out on the fire hose. They came to the window and they started yelling, “Do not do that. It won’t hold you.” And then they ran away.
See, I didn’t know what was going on. That’s when the first tower fell. When they started running, the first tower was coming down. I had no way of knowing that.
Then I saw them come back. Now I saw them come back with more concern on their faces. And then they ran away again. The second tower fell. So as they turned and ran the second time, the guy said, “Don’t worry, we’ll be back for you.” And they did come back.
This time they came back with 10 firefighters. And they kept asking, “Where are you? We don’t know where you are.” I said, “I’m on the north side of the building.” Because when I was on the stairs, I saw “North Side.”
All this time, I’m hearing all types of explosions. All this time, I’m hearing explosions. And I’m thinking that maybe it’s the buses around me that were on fire, the cars that were on fire. I don’t see no . . . you know? But I’m still hearing these explosions.
When they finally got to us and they took us down to what they called the lobby . . . Because I asked them when we got down there, I said, “Where are we?” He said, “This was the lobby.” And I said, “You gotta be kidding me.” It was total ruins. Total ruins. Now keep in mind: When I came in there, the lobby had nice escalators. It was a huge lobby. And for me to see what I saw was unbelievable.
And the firefighter that took us down kept saying, “Do not look down!” And I kept saying, “Why?” He said, “Do not look down.” And we were stepping over people. And, you know, you can feel when you’re stepping over people.
They took us out through a hole, that . . . I don’t know who made this hole in this wall. That’s how they got us out. They took us out through a hole through the wall to safety.
As they were taking me out, one firefighter had fallen. I believe he was having a heart attack. But before that, this big giant police officer came to me. And he said, “You have to run!” I said, “I can’t run. My knees are swollen.” He said, “You’ll have to get on your knees and crawl, then!” He said, “Because we have reports of more explosions.” And that’s when I started crawling, and I saw this guy fall behind me. His comrades came to his aid and they dragged him to safety.
I was looking for an ambulance for my knees, and at that time they told me we gotta walk 20 blocks to a refuge. Before I got there, Eyewitness News grabbed me and started interviewing me.
And that’s basically it.
SOURCE: Barry Jennings Uncut
To those unfamiliar with the official story of WTC 7, this might seem like just another account of the terror, confusion and heroism that the victims of that day faced during their harrowing ordeal.
But this is not the case. Jennings’ story is in fact full of details that directly contradict NIST’s pronouncements on the destruction of the building.
Most notably, Jennings’ vivid description of the explosions that were taking place in the building during his ordeal is in direct contradiction to NIST’s assertion in its FAQ on WTC 7 that, although NIST “investigated the possibility” of explosions contributing to the building’s demolition, “NIST concluded that blast events inside the building did not occur and found no evidence supporting the existence of a blast event.”
In fact, not only is there ample evidence, available to anyone interested, that there were explosions going on in the building shortly before it went down, but Jennings’ personal account confirms that there were numerous explosions taking place inside WTC 7 in the morning, hours before the building was destroyed.
The BBC, in its “Conspiracy Files” program on “The Third Tower,” tries to muddy the waters by implying that the explosions that Jennings testified to were in fact the dust and debris from the Twin Towers’ demolitions impacting Building 7.
JENNINGS: At that time I received a phone call from one of my higher-ups and he said, “Where are you?” and I said, you know, “The emergency command center.” And then he came back, he said, “Get out of here get out of the area.”
NARRATOR: At 9:59 the 1,300-foot South Tower collapses.
[. . .]
JENNINGS: I wanted to get out of that building in a hurry so I started—instead of taking one step at a time, I’m jumping landings. When I reach down to the 6th floor, with this eerie sound the whole building went dark and the staircase that I was standing on just gave way.
NARRATOR: At 10:28 the North Tower collapses in just 11 seconds.
With their editing and narrative intrusions, the BBC makes it seem that the explosions that Jennings and Hess experienced were just remnants of the Twin Towers hitting WTC 7. But in his interview with Dylan Avery and Jason Bermas, Jennings was completely adamant that he could still see both towers standing after the explosions happened.
JENNINGS: What happened was, when we made it back to the 8th floor—as I told you earlier, both buildings were still standing, because I looked. [He points] Two. [He pauses] I look one way, look the other way—now there’s nothing there.
When I got to the 6th floor, there was an explosion—that’s what forced us back to the 8th floor. Both buildings were still standing.
Keep in mind, I told you the fire department came . . . and ran. They came twice. Why? Because tower 1 fell and then tower 2 fell. And then when they came back, they came back, they came back all concerned like to get me the hell out of there. And, and they did. And we got out of there.
I got into the building a little before nine. . . . A little after nine. I didn’t get out of there until, like, 1:00.
It is important to note that Jennings’ story does not present a different view of the official story of 9/11; it undermines that story entirely. Multiple explosions taking place in the lower floors of Building 7 before the Twin Towers’ destruction shows that NIST was wrong to dismiss the possibility of explosive demolition of WTC 7. Given that the explosions that trapped Jennings and Hess was not falling debris from the Twin Towers and was not a fuel oil tank explosion—a point stressed by Jennings and confirmed by NIST—then the most likely possibility—pre-planted explosives that were timed to go off during the attacks—remains not only uncontested, but unconsidered by NIST or any other investigative agency.
Indeed, the 9/11 Commission—which called Jennings in to question him about his story in one closed-door meeting that was never followed up—did not even mention the stunning, symmetrical, free-fall demolition of World Trade Center Building 7 in its final report on the attacks. The BBC, as we have seen, attempted to bring Jennings’ story in line with the official story by purposely misleading its viewers about the timeline that Jennings himself insisted on. And NIST, infamously, took seven years to finally offer an account of Building 7’s collapse; an account so absurd as to be self-refuting:
SUNDER: Here’s a video taken on 9/11 that shows WTC 7 collapsing. Note the kink in the East penthouse and the progression of the screening wall and the West penthouse collapsing from East to West. Here is our structural model showing the building collapsing, which matches quite quite well with the video of the event.
Most remarkable of all, and conveniently left out of the account of every so-called “debunker” of Jennings’ testimony, is what Jennings himself felt about the destruction of Building 7.
JENNINGS: Well, I’m just confused about one thing and one thing only. Why World Trade Center 7 went down in the first place. I’m very confused about that. I know what I heard. I heard explosions.
The explanation I got was it was the fuel oil tank. I’m an old boiler guy. If it was a fuel oil tank, it would have been one side of the building. When I got to that lobby, the lobby was totally destroyed. It looked like King Kong had came through it and stepped on it. It was so destroyed, I didn’t know where I was. And it was so destroyed, they had to take me out through a hole in the wall. A makeshift hole that I believe the fire department made to get me out.
Given Barry Jennings’ personal experience, what did he make of the BBC’s attempts to alter the timeline of his story? How did he react to the official government viewpoint that no explosions took place in the building that day? What did he think of NIST’s refusal to even examine the evidence of controlled demolition of WTC 7 or their own computer-generated model of how “thermal expansion” and regular office fires brought down a 47-story steel-framed office tower?
Sadly, we will never know. When Dylan Avery and Jason Bermas released a small clip of their interview, Jennings’ job was threatened and he asked that the interview not be included in Loose Change: Final Cut. The full interview was not released until after the BBC released their Third Tower documentary in which Jennings claimed to be unhappy with how his testimony was “portrayed” by Avery and Bermas.
No further interview or follow-up with Jennings about his comments or about the way the BBC portrayed his story was possible. In September 2008, just as NIST was presenting its final report concluding that WTC 7 had spontaneously collapsed from ordinary office fires, it was reported that Barry Jennings had passed away in hospital the month before. No further details of his death were offered.
Dylan Avery, seeking to bring closure to Barry Jennings’ life, answer questions about his death, and honor the bravery of a 9/11 survivor who spoke the truth even when it was unpopular, hired a private investigator to determine the circumstances of Jennings’ death. In a remarkable and bizarre turn of events, however, after pursuing the case, the investigator referred the matter to the police, refunded his fee, and told Avery never to contact him again. To this day, no time or cause of death of Barry Jennings has ever been publicly announced or confirmed.
Despite the sad and confused ending of this tale, there is still hope. Hope that the courage Jennings had in standing up and telling the truth—even though it was not what the government, NIST, or the promoters of the official 9/11 story wanted to hear—will not be wasted. Hope that, ultimately, the historical record, and the truth itself, will out.
BERMAS: I think the strongest lesson to be learned about Barry Jennings is that the historical record is the historical record, no matter how hard you try to spin it. For instance, you know, now with these Dark Overlord documents leaking, there’s litigation talking about the transformers being blown up in the bottom of the building. OK, now if that had happened, we would have had a visual event much like what happened with the Con Edison transformer blowing less than six months ago. It did not happen. And yet on paper and litigation and in official documents it does again and again. Well, it’s a cover-up.
The man stepped over bodies. We know that happened. He and Hess both talked about internal explosions. That building housed the CIA, the Secret Service, the SEC. I mean, I could go on. It’s unbelievable.
And I really hope with this latest litigation we finally get to the truth, no matter what. And I would hope that Barry would want the truth, no matter what he may have said in that BBC documentary. Because I spent time with the man. I was in his back seat, and he sure as hell wanted the truth then.
And so now, all these years later, those who are still seeking the truth are left in the same position as Barry Jennings himself was when he first talked to Dylan Avery and Jason Bermas: Looking at his own experience inside WTC 7 on 9/11 and the government’s official explanation of those experiences, and realizing that the two do not add up. Jennings and the other 9/11 whistleblowers are those special few who can stand up and say that the emperor is not wearing any clothes.
JENNINGS: Well, I’m just confused about one thing and one thing only. Why World Trade Center 7 went down in the first place. I’m very confused about that. I know what I heard. I heard explosions.