July 20, 1970: A fire of unknown origin destroys a B-52 Stratofortress bomber on the ground at Loring Air Force Base in Limestone.

The $7.7 million (about $51.4 million in 2019) jet burns down to the tarmac in less than an hour. Small explosions occur when fuel tanks rupture and the plane’s tires burst.

Two Air Force specialists are doing maintenance work on the plane when the fire starts. Both are taken to the hospital, examined and released.

One of the firemen who arrives at the scene is hospitalized for treatment of smoke inhalation. Four other airmen working nearby are treated for minor injuries.

Investigators are unable to determine what caused the fire.

When it occurs, the plane is parked on a “stub” – a parking strip attached to a taxiway.

Presented by:

Joseph Owen is an author, retired newspaper editor and board member of the Kennebec Historical Society. Owen’s book, “This Day in Maine,” can be ordered at islandportpress.com. To get a signed copy use promo code signedbyjoe at checkout. Joe can be contacted at: jowen@mainetoday.com.

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