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Negative #: 2002-5965
Transcript: 12 World Trade Center

Operation & Maintenance

smoke detection system
observation deck
tower B

Location: World Trade Center
Source: Gift of Police Department - City of New York

Related Objects

Observation deck fire safety manual
Description: This binder cover, marked “World Trade Center Tower 2 Observation Deck Smoke Detection Manual,” was recovered from the debris of the World Trade Center.

Context: Opened in 1973, the Twin Towers were designed with a consideration towards potential emergency situations. After the 1993 bombing, the Port Authority spent about eighty million dollars to improve the emergency management system. But no one anticipated such a catastrophic event as that of September 11.

With its high visitation by tourists, the observation deck on the 107th floor of the south tower was an area of special concern. In case of a fire, roll-down doors would automatically descend and divide the space into four zones of refuge. Additionally, the fans would shut down, and dampers in the air handling system were designed to automatically close and prevent smoke from filling the space.


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©2002 National Museum of American History, Smithsonian Institution