Locals Share their Memories of PEPCON Disaster

HENDERSON, Nev. -- The PEPCON disaster of May 4, 1988 changed everything for more than 300 people in the Las Vegas Valley, including Scott Dickamore. He was new on the job at PEPCON, just beginning his fourth month.

PEPCON,the Pacific Engineering and Production Company, made rocket fuel for the US Space Program. On that fateful day, ammonium perchlorate, an explosive rocket fuel ingredient, ignited, causing back-to-back explosions.

"It blew me out the door," said Dickamore.

Dickamore managed to make it a few hundred yards from the plant when he ran into a co-worker. They were together for the largest blast.

"It was a tremendous fire, a tremendous explosion. We could see the third shock wave coming at us and so all we could do was kind of tuck up and hope that we survive that one," said Dickamore.

Many more remember that shock wave. Viewers emailed 8 News NOW for the 25th anniversary.

Kimberly Watson said "Many houses in Green Valley had broken windows. I remember driving down the road near PEPCON, taking photos & seeing the smoke still rising from the ground. It was very surreal."

Carolyn Pinther writes, "My husband was working out of town and kept calling until he finally reached me. (No cell phones back then.) We got telephone calls from relatives all over the country asking if we were alright. Driving down Water Street was like being in a war zone. Broken windows and other damage everywhere. It was quite an experience."

Dickamore and many others survived, but still live with the memories of that day.

"We were bleeding, slip forehead, blown our ear drums out, blood was coming out of our ears. It seems like a long period of time but it really isn't because I probably went through the whole incident last night," said Dickamore.

       

 


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