Radford, VA Arsenal Explosion, Aug 1970


Radford, Va. (AP) - The Radford Army arsenal was rocked early today by an explosion that killed two employees, injured four other persons and caused an estimated $200,000 damage.
The explosion and fire occurred shortly after the third shift had gone on duty at midnight.
Officials said a 25-by-60-foot building was destroyed.
The explosion sent a fireball billowing into the skies and residents reported the blast shook houses as far as five miles from the plant.
The plant is operated under government contract by Hercules, Inc. Plant officials said an investigation is under way to determine what caused the explosion.
The dead were identified as (Unknown), Va.; and WALLACE L. DOYLE, 29, Christiansburg, Va.
The arsenal is six miles from this southwest Virginia city. Hercules operates the facility under the Army's jurisdiction.

Powder Building.
Col. Robert J. Douglas, commanding officer at the arsenal, said the explosion took place in a powder processing building during part of a pre-blending operation.
Douglas said the process is mostly remote controlled, but a step he termed a "charging operation" requires workmen to be inside the building.
The usual number of workmen involved in the charging operation is six to eight, he said, but only five persons - including the two dead and three of the injured - were in the wooden frame building when the explosion occurred.
A woman employee riding a shuttle bus near the building at the time of the explosion was treated for shock.

The Post-Crescent Appleton Wisconsin 1970-08-28