[Sorry about the title typo - it should read "Officials Studying S.F. Freeway Collapse" - Lee]
Making the best of a bad situation, officials are studying this weekend's fire and collapse of the freeway overpass in San Francisco to draw comparisons with the 9/11 collapse of the World Trade Center, and to learn more about fighting such gasoline-fed structural fires in the future.
While crews sifted through the wreckage Monday, outside experts did their own analysis. In one line of inquiry that could improve future responses, some scientists were studying links between the freeway collapse and how the World Trade Center came down Sept. 11, 2001.
The structural failures appear similar, said David McCallen, division leader in nonproliferation, homeland and international security at the Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory. The steel supporting the overpass turned pliable after the gasoline-fed fire below reached temperatures up to 2,000 degrees -- more than four times as hot as the hottest conventional home oven.
The big difference between a blast and a fire is the fire takes time, "which gives you the potential or the option of responding," McCallen said. In this case, it makes sense to look at better ways to douse fuel-based fires, McCallen said, adding: "We ought to at least investigate whether there's a response mechanism that makes sense."
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