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Igloo: A History of the Black Hills Ordnance Depot
page 41

"In 1946, a shipment of phosphorous bombs caught fire, resulting in explosions and small fires on the depot grounds. The fires could be seen from several miles away, and depot firemen were kept busy extingusihing them."

Mary (Gurski) Lehman

Mary was working at the Lutheran Hospital in Hot Springs in July of 1946 and from the roof of the hospital could see a very red glow in the sky from the phosphorus fire. She also remembers that nobody was hurt.

The Edgemont Tribune
Vol. XXIII, No. 28 page 1 July 10, 1946

Black Hills Ordnance Depot

Last Friday, (July 5) the people of Igloo witnessed an unscheduled display of fireworks. The manner in which people conducted themselves during the event was commendable. With few exceptions, the usual calm prevailed in the housing area. It is desired that certain facts be brought out here in order to remove any doubt that might still exist in the minds of the residents of Igloo as to the cause and seriousness of the fire. The ammunition destroyed was white phosphorus bombs, used by the armed forces for laying down smoke screens. Upon receipt at this depot, the bombs had been placed in segregated storage because of the fire hazard that always exists in this type of material. The fire was caused by white phosphorous coming in contact with the air through defective bomb cases. This possibility was known to exist and every precaution had been taken to eliminate property damage and injury to personnel in the event of fire. As a matter of fact, this practice is carried out in the storage of all types of ammunition. During the fire, trained personnel observed the situation and it is felt that data has been obtained that will prove practical to this depot and to the Ordnance Department. Factors determined will be used in planning ways and means to prevent or control any repetition of the events of last Friday.

100 lb chemical bomb Phosphorus Operation
100 lb chemical bomb Later operation to remove phosphorus from bombs
(original from Chuck Johnson)


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