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News :: International
Air Force says fire erupted at Wyoming silo
30 Oct 2008
COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo. (AP) The Air Force says a fire caused 1 million dollars in damage at an unmanned underground nuclear launch site in Wyoming last spring, but the Air Force did not find out about it until five days later.
Oct 30 2008 7:44PM

Air Force Major Laurie Arellano says the fire near the Minuteman III missile east of Cheyenne was caused by a faulty battery charger in the unmanned launch complex and burned itself out.

It was discovered days later by a crew looking for a wiring problem.

Arellano says safety systems prevented an accidental launch. She also says a leak was prevented, but she would not discuss whether the missile contained a nuclear warhead.

The fire occurred in May.

It's the latest in a string of embarrassing missteps involving the nation's nuclear arsenal. In 2006, four electrical fuses for ballistic missile warheads were mistakenly shipped to Taiwan, and last year, a B-52 bomber was mistakenly armed with six nuclear-tipped missiles when it flew between Air Force bases in North Dakota and Louisiana.

The Air Force announced last week it was setting up a new Global Strike Command to better manage its nuclear-capable bombers and missiles.

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