Today in History – August 10, 1965 – Titan II Missile silo fire in AR is fatal.

10 August 1965 – “A fire in a Martin LGM-25C Titan II missile silo at Searcy, Arkansas kills 53 men, all of them civilians, in the worst accident in “U.S. space-age defense” when a diesel generator catches fire, smothering the victims.

The missile, fully loaded with liquid fuel, did not burn. Its nuclear warhead had been removed while the civilian workmen updated the physical plant of the complex.

Two civilians were able to flee the fire area through an underground tunnel to the access rooms and launch center. “The fire probably burned less than an hour”, said Capt. Douglas Wood, Public Information Officer for Little Rock Air Force Base, which commands the 18 Titan II silos ringing Central Arkansas, “but up to 12 hours later smoke was still billowing in the silo.”” (1)

Source: (1) Wikipedia/Portal:Aviation Anniversaries

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