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Saturday, July 9, 2011

PEPCON Disaster - The Greatest Chemical Explosion in American History

The PEPCON disaster was an industrial disaster that occurred in Henderson, Nevada on May 4, 1988 at the Pacific Engineering Production Company of Nevada (PEPCON) plant. The chemical fire and subsequent explosions claimed two lives, injured 372 people, and caused an estimated US$100 million of damage. A large portion of the Las Vegas metropolitan area 10 miles (16 km) away was affected, and several agencies activated disaster plans.

Pepcon was one of the only two American producers of ammonium perchlorate, an oxidizer used in solid fuel rocket boosters, including the Space Shuttle and military weapons. The fire and explosions were caught on videotape by television engineer Dennis Todd, who was on Black Mountain performing maintenance on a television tower.