54 years ago today a fire broke out in one of the operational buildings, killing twelve United States military personnel.
Most of the deaths occurred because the men were unable to escape through a locked exit and were overcome by the smoke.
Although the official investigation listed faulty electrical circuitry as the cause of the fire, some eyewitness accounts attributed it to failure in a recently-installed incinerator, used for destruction of classified material, which had been improperly vented through the wall and subsequently caused the wall to ignite.
Below are the names of the 12 men who lost their life during the tunnel fire:
CTSA Roger “W” Alex
CTSA William E. Briley
CTSN Wilford D. Cordell
CTSN Dennis e. Etzwieler
CT3 Archie R. Garofalo
CTSA John D. House
LCPL Richard E. McKown
LTjg Ernest D. Moody
SGT Paul C. Rodrigues
CT3 Wayne E. Tower
CTSN James K. Whitman
CT3 Gregory S. Williams
Sayonara is not goodbye, but the promise of meeting again.
24 September 2019 at 11:30
RIP Rod, you were a good man.
24 September 2019 at 12:43
RIP Brothers. You are not forgotten. God Bless.
24 September 2019 at 13:37
Was with Dennis and Bill and always hated the way they passed away…both good guys….
24 September 2019 at 13:45
Remembering Scott “Red” Williams, my buddy along with all of the brave men that tragic day. RIP
24 September 2019 at 14:26
When I got back from TAD, my 4-person cube was nearly empty. Red Williams was gone and both the other guys were just getting back from the hospital. Not a great Christmas.
24 September 2019 at 18:30
Thank you for your service, men!
24 September 2019 at 19:14
May you all R.I.P. Your names and contributions will not be forgotten. God go with you!
24 September 2019 at 22:24
I was coming on Eve watch after the Mid blaze. Wilford Cordell CTSN and I worked in the same space on 2nd floor above where the fire started. RIP to all.
27 September 2019 at 03:09
I Recall This Event Vividly!! “I Was On Leave Or Would Have Been Working That Horrible Morning”!! I Was Asleep In Barracks When I Was Wakened & Told “THE T. WAS ON FIRE”!! “I Worked On The Same Watch With All These Friends 1 Was ARCHIE GAROFALO & GREG WILLIAMS”!!! We Had Lot Of GREAT TIMES TOGETHER”!!! “I PRAY THAT “‘GOD HAS BEEN KIND TO THEM ALL”!!!! “R.I.P.”!!!
29 July 2021 at 05:30
RIP shipmates I arrived at kamiseya 9 months after the fire. You will never be forgotten
30 July 2021 at 05:32
I was off duty the night of the fire and came in the next morning to pick up my pay check and saw all the reporters at the main gate. Afterwards, talking to some of the guys who had been on duty was told that instead of evacuating right away, they were told to stay at their posts and done gas masks. When the fire started to cause the smoke to become so thick that you couldn’t see your hand in front of your face. One of the guys brought his motorcycle in as far as he could to shine it’s headlight down the passage way. No one should have died in this fire! They should have evacuated right from the beginning.
Again, I was not there at the time so these are just some comments based on talking to guys that were there.