TDISH: A Tragedy of the Cold War

On August 9, 1965, a tragedy struck the small city of Searcy, Arkansas – home to a United States Air Force missile silo.  At this installation, home to Titan II ICBMs, a large number of civilians were working on the silo when a fire was started by a welding torch.  Some 55 men were trapped in the silo as the air was quickly consumed by the fire.  In one of the largest industrial accidents on the American side of the Cold War, 53 of the workers were killed, mostly by asphyxiation.  The two men who survived escaped with burns and smoke inhalation.  Tragically, two of the victims – the third and fourth men to reach the escape hatch – became trapped on the ladder out of the silo blocking the escape route of their colleagues below.

Featured Image: “Titan II Missile.” Public Domain.
Source: “Escape Route Blocked in Silo Disaster.” Ellensburg Daily Record. 13 August 1965.

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