A broken standpipe may have crippled the battle against Saturday's Deutsche Bank tower blaze near Ground Zero. Water filled the basement as flames on higher floors raged, the Times reports, and water from the hose connected to the suspect standpipe apparently didn't reach past the fifth floor. Firefighters spent precious minutes pulling hoses up the side of the building.
Also worsening the blaze were EPA measures intended to decrease contamination from the decrepit building, which was under demolition. Negative pressure sucked in air and fed the flames, while firefighters, including the two who died, were trapped and disoriented by the maze of plywood and polyurethane sheets that divided floors and stairways.