PLEASE NOTE: Excerpts from, and link to, The Oklahoma Department of Emergency Management’s After Action Report have been added to this blogpost, effective 4 May 2019.
The Oklahoma City Fire Department has responded to numerous hazmat incidents, the largest being the bombing of the Murrah Federal Building. The blast from a 4,800-pound mixture of ammonium nitrate, nitro methane and fuel oil destroyed one-third of the nine-story building. The blast was heard 16 miles away and registered 3.2 on the Richter Scale 16.1 miles away. Destruction and property damage occurred to 324 buildings in a 16-block radius around the Murrah building and shattered glass in another 258 buildings. Eighty-six cars in the area were burned or destroyed by the blast pressure.
Robert Burke. Hazmat Studies: Oklahoma City, Before & After the Bombing. Firehouse.com. 1 May 2018. https://www.firehouse.com/rescue/hazardous-materials/article/20997241/response-to-oklahoma-city-bombing
The car bomb that destroyed a nine-story federal office building here Wednesday exploded directly under a day-care center on the structure’s second floor and badly damaged another baby-sitting facility in a nearby YMCA. Of the approximately 40 children thought to have been in the building when the bomb went off, at least 12 are dead and about 26 were listed as missing late Wednesday night. The dead ranged in age from 1 to 7 years old. Some of them were burned beyond recognition. One of the children known to have survived was in surgery Wednesday evening and the other was in an intensive-care facility.
The Slaughter of the Innocents : Victims: ‘We could hear children crying,’ a Red Cross worker says. https://www.latimes.com/archives/la-xpm-1995-04-20-mn-56815-story.html
The bombing of the Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City occurred on 19 April 1995, which was a Wednesday. When my wife, daughter, and I made it to the site that Saturday, the perimeter fence was, at least to the North, still many blocks from where the Murrah building and America’s Kids daycare had stood just days earlier. But even outside that fence, damaged structures and destroyed vehicles could be seen, seemingly everywhere. From the fence line, rescue personnel appeared small against a bizarre behemoth of tangled concrete and steel. It would be more than a month before the last three bodies would be found, following demolition of the 9-story federal building.
The Oklahoma Department of Emergency Management after action report is available for download at:
The Executive Summary of that report and that same report’s activity log covering Wednesday, 19 April, through Saturday, 22 April, are excerpted for the reader’s convenience and appear at the end of this blogpost.
Responding to Terrorism Victims: Oklahoma City and Beyond. Office of Justice Programs, U. S. Department of Justice. https://www.ovc.gov/pdftxt/NCJ183949.pdf
FEMA 277, The Oklahoma City Bombing Report (1996) | FEMA.gov
THOUGHTS ON A VISIT TO GROUND ZERO OKC BEFORE ALL THE DEAD WERE FOUND: A LOVE LETTER TO OUR FIRST RESPONDERS
I brought my wife and child to this killing field while the perimeter fence was still many blocks away from the blast site and while our first responders were still recovering the bodies and parts of bodies that had not long before been men and women, sons and daughters. Parents and grandparents.
It would not be too long until we moved to Oklahoma City and my duties as a lawyer for the accused frequently brought me to the federal courthouse that’s at the top of the above image. And, depending on where I parked, I might cross hallowed ground to get there. But there were other times that I came here – and I will go again – when the daylight was not yet standing watch. Times when I asked God why He wasn’t in Oklahoma City that April day.
Over the weekend, I wrote a love letter to those whose job it is to pick up the pieces.
FIVE FINGER DEATH PUNCH – BLUE ON BLACK – PROCEEDS FROM THIS SONG TO BE DONATED TO THE GARY SINISE FOUNDATION TO BENEFIT FIRST RESPONDERS: NYC – OKC MASHUP