When originally constructed, the two towers were not provided with automatic fire sprinkler protection. However, such protection was installed as a retrofit circa 1990, and automatic sprinklers covered nearly 100 percent of WTC 1 and WTC 2 at the time of the September 11 attacks. In addition, each building had standpipes running through each of its three stairways. A 1.5-inch hose line and a cabinet containing two air pressurized water (APW) extinguishers were also present at each floor in each stairway.
The primary water supply was provided by a dedicated fire yard main that looped around most of the complex. This yard main was supplied directly from the municipal water supply. Two remotely located high pressure, multi-stage, 750-gallons per minute (gpm) electrical fire pumps took suction from the New York City municipal water supply and produced the required operating pressures for the yard main.
Each tower had three electrical fire pumps that provided additional pressure for the standpipes. One pump, located on the 7th floor, received the discharge from the yard main fire pumps and moved it up to the 41st floor, where a second 750-gpm fire pump pushed it up to a third pump on the 75th floor. Each fire pump produced sufficient pressure to supply water to the pump two stages up from it in the event that any one pump should fail. Several 5,000-gallon storage tanks, filled from the domestic water system, provided a secondary water supply. Tanks on the 41st, 75th, and 110th floors provided water directly to a standpipe system. A tank on the 20th floor supplied water directly to the yard main. Numerous Fire Department of New York (FDNY) connections were located around the complex to allow the fire department to boost water pressure in the buildings.