CHECKING SITE
Emergency personnel and employees of the Redstone Test Center search through the remains of building 7298 following a July 13 fire.

REDSTONE ARSENAL, Ala. -- A fire at Redstone Test Center's building 7298 on July 13 partially damaged the facility and caused the temporary evacuation of other Arsenal buildings near the site, but did not lead to any injuries.

Fire engines from the Directorate for Emergency Services responded at 11:55 a.m. They were joined by Huntsville Fire and Rescue and Huntsville Emergency Services.

The fire was quickly contained within the confines of the 460-square-foot building, located in RTC's Climatic Test Division area in the southwestern area of post off Buxton Road.

"We have a great team of first responders on post, who are true professionals and helped to mitigate risk for those involved," Garrison commander Col. Bob Pastorelli said. "I am also very pleased that the building's design prevented any further damage to the surrounding area."

At the time of the fire's reporting, RTC personnel were conducting a Hellfire missile test. This testing is used to assure that Soldiers have the most reliable weapon systems ready for combat.

Three test operators, who were conducting the test at the time of the fire, were located in a small trailer a safe distance from building 7298.

An Arsenal safety board from several organizations will be assembled to assess damage and investigate the cause.

At the time of the fire, about 30 people were removed from buildings throughout the Climatic Test Division area, division chief David Elkins said. They remained at a safe distance until all potential explosives were removed. There was no risk to those in the area or in the community, as Team Redstone's support to ongoing overseas contingency operations continues.

All missile testing in the area was halted immediately after the fire. Operations were slowly coming back online at the end of last week, Elkins said. All safety measures are being taken, he said.

As part of standard procedures, an Explosive Ordnance Disposal unit from
Fort Campbell, Ky., arrived just hours after the fire and confirmed that the fire was out. They worked throughout the day July 14 to remove any explosive items from the building. The team has since rendered the site safe.

During the removal of explosives, all incident-response personnel were kept at a safe distance from the building.

One key element of Redstone Arsenal's mission is testing equipment to ensure it functions properly on the battlefield. Arsenal personnel follow stringent safety standards and train continuously to ensure those standards are observed.

Page last updated Fri July 23rd, 2010 at 17:01