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Collection Guide
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Gagnon, Rusty Collection
MC 91  
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Collection Overview
 
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Description
Included are the personal reminiscences of then-Sacramento County Sherriff's Department dispatcher Rusty Gagnon of the April 28, 1973, railyard explosion in Roseville, California. Also included is a single piece of shrapnel from one of the more than 7,000 250-pound Mark-81 bombs that detonated at the railyard.
Background
On the morning of April 28, 1973, a munitions car – just dispatched from the U.S. Naval Ammunition Depot in Hawthorne, Nevada – exploded at Roseville, California's Southern Pacific railyard. It was one of 18 total munitions cars, each holding 330 Mark-81 bombs. Buildings five-miles away suffered broken windows and the blast could be heard as far as 40-miles away. When the series of explosions stopped, 160 freight cars had been demolished with another 140 damaged. No official cause was determined, but one theory points to the condition of the boxcar itself which may have been the victim of overheated brake shoes that ignited its underside. Although no fatalities were reported, roughly 200 people required medical care while between 3,000 and 5,000 area residents had to be evacuated. In addition, 10 homes were destroyed, 400 sustained major damage and 650 had broken windows.
Extent
.3 Linear Feet 1 folder and 1 artifact in 1 archival box