31 years ago today an explosion killed 6 Kansas City firefighters

KANSAS CITY, Mo. — It’s been 31 years since an explosion claimed the lives of six Kansas City firefighters.

Thomas Fry, Gerald Halloran, Luther Hurd, James Kilventon Jr., Robert D. McKarnin and Michael Oldham – were killed in a massive early-morning explosion at a construction site near 71-Highway in southeast Kansas City. The explosions were ruled to be caused by arson at a construction trailer loaded with tens of thousands of pounds of explosives.

The six Kansas City firefighters who were killed.

See video of the memorial built in their memory in the video player above.

Firefighter memorial

Kansas City Deputy Fire Chief James Dean was a rookie firefighter that November night.

“I remember waking up to the explosion, and the location that we were located at shook,” Dean told FOX4 during an interview last year.

Kansas City’s pumper trucks 30 and 41 had arrived at a 71 Highway construction site minutes earlier and found two separate fires in the early hours of November 29, 1988.

“We started hearing some of the radio traffic and didn’t sound good,” Dean recalled.

“Pumper 30 or Pumper 41, please answer,” a dispatcher said.

What the six responding firefighters didn’t know was the burning trailers contained tens of thousands of pounds of ammonium nitrate and fuel oil, volatile explosives being used in the highway construction.

“If we had known that, if they had known that, we wouldn’t have had six men lost,” Kansas City dispatcher Phillip Wall told FOX4 in a 1988 interview.

Click or tap here the full story including an interview with a convicted man who said he’s still seeking the truth .

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