Subj: Fire Destroys Missile Control Building
Date: 11/30/00 9:16:38 PM Pacific Standard Time

Nov 30, 2000 - 11:20 PM

Fire Destroys Missile Control Building

PLAZA, N.D. (AP) - A fire thought to have started near a diesel
generator destroyed two buildings Thursday at a multimillion-dollar
missile command center, officials said.

Air Force authorities said an underground missile control capsule with
two men inside was sealed off, but the men were unharmed. Thirteen
others escaped to the surface.

There are no missiles at the facility, which sits under a farm field.

"The two down there are probably the most comfortable of anybody right
now," said Lt. Col. Les Miller, of the 91st Space Wing at the Minot Air
Force Base. "At no time was there any threat to them, to national
security or the missiles under their command. They've got enough food,
water and oxygen to stay down there for 30 days."

Responsibility for missile management was transferred to another
facility, officials said, during an investigation of the fire five miles
north of Plaza. Dozens of similar missile facilities dot the North
Dakota prairie.

Each missile command center consists of above-ground structures for
security and missile control personnel, and self-contained capsules,
about 100 feet below ground. The capsules are staffed round the clock by
two people who oversee 10 Minuteman missiles in silos scattered through
the countryside.