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U.S. Nuke Missile Silo Fire Went Unnoticed for 5 days

A fire caused $1 million worth of damage at an unmanned underground nuclear launch site last spring, but the Air Force didn't find out about it until five days later, an Air Force official said Thursday.

The May 23 fire burned itself out after an hour or two, and multiple safety systems prevented any threat of an accidental launch of the Minuteman III missile, Maj. Laurie Arellano said. She said she was not allowed to say whether the missile was armed with a nuclear warhead at the time of the fire.

Arellano said the Air Force didn't know a fire had occurred until May 28, when a repair crew went to the launch site - about 40 miles east of Cheyenne, Wyo., and 100 miles northeast of Denver - because a trouble signal indicated a wiring problem.

She said the flames never entered the launch tube where the missile stood and there was no danger of a radiation release.

The fire, blamed on a faulty battery charger, burned a box of shotgun shells, a shotgun and a shotgun case that were kept in the room, Arellano said. A shotgun is a standard security weapon at missile silos.

Arellano said the battery chargers at all U.S. missile launch site have been replaced.

She said the incident wasn't reported sooner because of the complexity of the investigation.

The damage from the fire was estimated at $1 million, including the cost of replacing damaged equipment and cleanup.

An Air Force report of the incident released Thursday found flaws in the technical orders for assembling battery charger parts, inspection procedures and modifications of the launch complex ventilation system. It was also critical of the presence of flammable materials.

Cheyenne Mayor Jack Spiker, who said he learned of the incident when contacted by a reporter Thursday, said the fire doesn't undermine his confidence in the safety of the missile operations.

"It's rare that they have an accident, and the accidents have never really, that I know of, amounted to much because of the safety devices that are built into the system," he said.

The revelation was the latest in a string of embarrassing missteps involving the nation's nuclear arsenal. In 2006, four electrical fuses for ballistic missile warheads were mistakenly shipped to Taiwan, and in 2007, a B-52 bomber was mistakenly armed with six nuclear-tipped missiles when it flew between Air Force bases in North Dakota and Louisiana.

The Air Force announced last week it was setting up a new Global Strike Command to better manage its nuclear-capable bombers and missiles.

Source AP


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Added: Oct-31-2008 
By: Panda07
In:
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Tags: USA, Nuke, Missile silo, MAD, Minuteman, USAF, Fire
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  • nuclear missile silo fire = bad

    Posted Oct-31-2008 By 

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  • imagine if it went off. the US wouldnt know what happened so would attack randomly, potentially causing a global wipe out. abit far fetched but so is a nuke nearly on fire for hours and not noticed for 5 days!

    Posted Oct-31-2008 By 

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  • My neighborhood where i grew up was near an airbase that had a centrifuge and they trained astronauts there,and to this day there are corn fields that were never developed around the outside of the base that we use to ride our dirtbikes and three wheelers and snowmobiles in(long time ago)and we now know that they have missle silos there that are top secret because and old retired dude from the base told us thats why they never built houses in that area to this day.

    Posted Oct-31-2008 By 

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    • And your point is. . . .

      Posted Oct-31-2008 By 

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    • That there are alot of these restricted and secret areas around the u.s. that people have no clue about,but i guess we will all find out about them when they fire them off unless somebody tells us before it happens?

      Posted Oct-31-2008 By 

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    • Oh I see, it was an anecdote. Consider me entertained. It was as pointless as your stupid ass comment about dicks in the ass - shows what you spend your time thinking about.

      Posted Oct-31-2008 By 

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    • Where exactly was this and how long ago? Don't think I'm saying you are lying... I'm simply saying that the details don't sound quite accurate, really, because ICBM's are never grouped together in a small area where some houses would be built. There sometimes may be some in the vicinity of some houses or fields, but it's mostly open prairie, and you'll never find more than one near the same house or field. The 150 missiles that I worked on at Minot AFB were spread out over 8500 square mi More..

      Posted Nov-5-2008 By 

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    • I'm not saying that there isn't classified stuff all over the country, however, these ICBM's in particular are not all over. A few Northern tier States only now. Minuteman ICBM's were never deployed further South than Missouri. The missile wing at Whiteman AFB, MO was deactivated in 1994-5. The base is still there though. It's host base for B-2 Stealth Bombers now.

      Posted Nov-5-2008 By 

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  • You think that's scary? What about all the fuknut countries that have nukes in some for or another that are by far more inept than we could ever be! Now that's what is really scary.

    Posted Oct-31-2008 By 

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  • Turkey hunt season

    Posted Oct-31-2008 By 

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  • Feel'n safe with nukes eh?

    Posted Oct-31-2008 By 

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  • That's one expensive shotgun.

    Posted Oct-31-2008 By 

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  • I am pretty sure that crazy shit like this happens to any nuke owner, but it is never reported.

    Posted Oct-31-2008 By 

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  • Agreed having Nuclear weapons is bad. No country should have them. That's the problem though. The only way you can destroy your arsenal is if you can be assured that no other country will have them either. That kind of international trust does not, and at the present time, cannot exist. At the present time countries with huge conventional forces need them to even things out with orther countries with huge conventional forces. Countries with small conventional forces need them to stop count More..

    Posted Oct-31-2008 By 

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  • damn its like a nuke could have gone off and america no more shreiks

    Posted Oct-31-2008 By 

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  • Wow that is really bad,And even worse.

    You folks were lucky imagine if that thing would've gone off.

    Posted Oct-31-2008 By 

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  • A battery charger,a shotgun,a case and some shells are worth 1 million dollars????? Man I knew copper and amo cost were going up but Geeezz!

    Posted Oct-31-2008 By 

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  • You don't just 'mistakenly' load nuclear bombs onto a bomber. There is a chain of command involved in all things like this, if a major or colonel at a base with nuclear weapons announced he was missing one, he'd be dismissed from the force right then and there. Nevermind missing fucking six of them.

    No, if you read the reports around this, the bombs were given the go-ahead to be loaded, and then someone blew the whistle on what was happening. The B-52 in question, loaded with nukes, was heading More..

    Posted Nov-1-2008 By 

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  • 2 to 1 says they dock the workers pay for the shotgun and the shells lol, i wonder what would have happened if they needed the gun? "oh crap it got burned what do we do, use it as a CLUB!"

    Posted Nov-2-2008 By 

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  • Great, just great!

    Posted Oct-31-2008 By 

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  • ahum

    Posted Oct-31-2008 By 

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