>This Day in History


January 27, 1967

Launch Complex 34, Cape Canaveral

1:00 pm.

Astronauts Virgil Grissom, Edward White, and Roger Chaffee entered the Apollo 204 spacecraft.

This was a pre-flight test for what was to be the first Apollo manned mission.

6:35 pm.

“Fire, I smell fire…..Fire in the cockpit…..”

Spacecraft technicians ran towards the sealed Apollo, but before they could reach it, the command module ruptured. Flames and thick black smoke quickly filled the room. Many feared that the entire service structure would ignite. Instinct told the men in the control room to get out while they could. Many evacuated, but others tried to rescue the astronauts. It was too late. The astronauts were dead. Firemen arrived within three minutes of the hatch opening.

A medical board determined that the astronauts died of carbon monoxide asphyxia, with thermal burns as contributing causes. The board could not say how much of the burns came after the three had died. Fire had destroyed 70% of Grissom’s spacesuit, 25% of White’s and 15% of Chaffee’s. Doctors treated 27 men for smoke inhalation. Two were hospitalized.

Those responsible for the planning, conduct and safety of this test failed to identify it as being hazardous. Contingency preparations to permit escape or rescue of the crew from an internal Command Module fire were not made.

No procedures for this type of emergency had been established either for the crew or for the spacecraft pad work team.

The emergency equipment located in the control room and in the spacecraft were not designed for the smoke condition resulting from a fire of this nature.

Emergency fire, rescue and medical teams were not in attendance…

Sometime during the investigation, the mission was then named Apollo I.
This is the patch that never flew.


This weekend, my job is really getting in the way of my beading. But, today, I still managed to get a little beadwork accomplished. I continued to work on the grill of my ’43 Chevy fire truck

6 thoughts on “>This Day in History

  1. >I think I’m loving the fire theme that is going along with this fire truck in beading. I managed to finish the lanyards and can now get back to ‘real’ beading. It is a good feeling when you can get some done each day! Gotta love that!

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