Akron Airdock Fire: from Refurbishment to Rescue 9-1-1
DID recently covered Lockheed’s High Altitude Airship military blimp and the related ISIS project. HAA/ISIS could put incredibly powerful battlefield ground surveillance and aerial surveillance radars on unmanned solar-powered blimps, which would stay aloft at 65,000 feet for up to a month. DID also noted the importance of Akron’s huge (1,175 x 325 x 211 feet), historic Airdock as the project’s location.
NBC reports that a large explosion and fire occurred yesterday at the airdock (Thursday, May 18, 2006), with smoke and flames pouring out of the hangar and bringing between 15 and 20 Akron fire companies to the scene…
The Ohio Beacon-Journal adds that the fire seemed to be largely contained by 12:30pm, though the ground-based hoses apparently had some trouble reaching the highest flames on the roof. Most damage is presently believed to be on the exterior, and everyone evacuated safely. No cause has been determined as yet.
Another Ohio Beacon-Journal article that ran just 10 days ago on May 7, 2006 noted that work crews had been doing major renovations to the airdock since 2003, replacing roofing, windows and siding, and removing interior catwalks, debris, and many of the existing offices. HAA design and R&D efforts were being conducted in a nearby building, with construction and assembly scheduled to begin in 2007 and the first flight scheduled for 2009.