Titan Missile Silo Fire

On August 9, 1965, 53 contract workers were killed in a fire in the Titan missile silo outside of Searcy, in one the largest industrial accidents in US history.

Air force investigators swarmed the scorched launch tube of a Titan 11 missile complex Tuesday to find the cause of an explosion and fire that killed 53 civilians in the "gun barrel" of America's mightiest ballistic missile.

The tragedy was the first in the history of the Titan system, which includes 54 complexes that have been fully operational since December 1963.

The death count from an explosion and fire in a Titan II missile launching site rose to 53 today with the discovery of six more bodies on lower levels of the underground silo.

It is very possible this is the final count, said Capt. DOUGLAS WOOD, Air Force public information officer at the site.
Searchers planned to pump several feet of water out of the bottom of the concrete tube holding the missile before giving up the search.

The exact number of civilians workmen in the missile complex at the time of the blast and fire Monday was uncertain through the long night of probing first hopefully, for survivors, and then for the bodies of the dead.

Two workmen scrambled out when the fire erupted and escaped without serious injury.