On February 26, 1993, terrorists parked a rental van in a garage underneath the World Trade Center’s twin towers and lit the fuses on a massive homemade bomb stuffed inside. Six people died and more than 1,000 were injured in the subsequent explosion, which carved out a crater several stories deep and propelled smoke into the upper reaches of the quarter-mile-high skyscrapers.
Completed in 1973, the World Trade Center’s twin towers loomed over lower Manhattan at 110 stories each. Although these iconic buildings, which were the tallest in the world before being overtaken by Chicago’s Sears Tower, struggled at first to attract tenants, some 50,000 office workers eventually filled them to near capacity. Tens of thousands of additional visitors came daily to check out the view from an observation deck or a 107th-floor restaurant.
Safety concerns became apparent as early as 1975, when a disgruntled custodian set a fire in…
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