May 5th, 2010
11:33 AM ET

Explosion at Redstone Arsenal rocket base burns 2

Two people were severely burned in an explosion at the U.S. Army's primary missile research installation in northern Alabama Wednesday, military officials and paramedics reported.

The blast happened at 8:45 a.m. (9:45 a.m. ET) at a military test area at Redstone Arsenal in Huntsville, said Jeanna Rightmeier, an Army spokeswoman. There were no fatalities reported, but two people suffered third-degree burns over more than 80 percent of their bodies, said Kenneth Burke, a field supervisor with Huntsville Emergency Medical Services, Inc.

The victims were flown to the University of Alabama at Birmingham's medical center for treatment, Burke said.

Redstone Arsenal has been the center of the Army's missile and rocket programs since the 1950s, when it became the home for the contingent of German rocket scientists who surrendered to American forces at the end of World War II. Their research was instrumental to the development of the U.S. space program in the late 1950s and early 1960s.

Civilian rocket research was moved to NASA's neighboring Marshall Space Flight Center in 1960. Redstone Arsenal now concentrates on the development of military weapons systems ranging from short-range rockets to ballistic missile defense systems.

- CNN's Aaron Cooper contributed to this report.

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soundoff (6 Responses)
  1. jjh

    May they recover quickly.

    May 5, 2010 at 11:50 am | Report abuse |
  2. mk31mart

    Well I was born in brazil and I think that it shouldn't matter what nationality you are or where your from,because people are people,black,white.asian,hispanic it's all the same,here in brazil we have plenty of difficulties but all races are
    wellcome in our country,here in brazil we are not a first world country but are actions are as if it we were ,everyone shoud
    should get along and do their part,there are plenty of american citizens working here in brazil and they are not sought after they are free to work as long as they are quallified,so why hunt us as if we were criminals I dont agree with way
    of thinking,I believe that there is enought opportunities for everyone,we need to grow and lean how to help each other
    why only count on us for bargains and pleasure,our life in this earth is short so lets get along and work together like
    the old brazilian says (one hand washes the other) you never know when you may need our help.

    May 5, 2010 at 4:22 pm | Report abuse |
  3. Kratoyd

    mk31, Whatever point you're trying to make there, you may want a little explaining of why the missile detonated. It was an old missile that was being dismantled, which as you can imagine, is a very dangerous procedure. We were not launching an attack. In other words, they were burnt by peace.

    May 5, 2010 at 6:00 pm | Report abuse |
  4. contractor

    the plant that exploded is a solid propellant processing plant that separates ammonium perchlorate (AP) from the propellant. The purpose is to recycle the AP for future missiles, but when you apply heat and chemical reactions to explosives, bad things can happen.

    May 5, 2010 at 10:14 pm | Report abuse |
  5. pierce

    Just one question:

    Where can I buy the El Sols and Los Spurs jerseys?

    May 6, 2010 at 1:11 am | Report abuse |
  6. Lana

    Go Arizona!! Glad to see a politician that has the guts to do the right thing. When did the illegal immigrants, key word bing illegal, have more rights then the American. Anyone wants to protest the Mexican's illegal immigration laws?????

    May 6, 2010 at 8:44 am | Report abuse |