photo: Rocky Flats/DOE
On Sunday, May 11, 1969 - Mother's Day - a fire erupted in a bomb manufacturing building containing more than 7,600 pounds of plutonium, enough for 1,000 nuclear bombs. Workers celebrating the holiday were ordered back to the plant.
Some forms of plutonium ignite spontaneously in air. Hundreds of fires broke out in the plant after 1952, when Rocky Flats began production, including a large one in 1957 that caused significant damage. But most were small and readily extinguished, leading to a sense of complacency. As the U.S. government demanded more bombs, plant operator Dow Chemical Co. complied by stuffing more plutonium and more flammable material into production buildings.
photo: Rocky Flat/DOE,
photo: Tim Hawkins,
|©2005 Len Ackland. All rights reserved.|