A Quest for Closure Outweighed the Search For Truth!

This site exists as a clearinghouse of information on the explosion that killed six Kansas City firefighters in November 1988. Many people remember the morning when shock waves shattered windows and woke people out of bed across the metro area. The case remains one of Kansas City’s strangest mysteries.

What started as a routine call on a vehicle fire turned tragic when an unmarked construction trailer containing 25,000 pounds of ammonium-nitrite and fuel oil exploded while firefighters fought a second fire at a highway construction site. Across the street and up a hill from the vehicle fire, arsonists also set a company pickup truck and trailer on fire. A battalion chief and his driver and two private security guards witnessed the explosion. There was nothing they could do to save the firefighters.  Approximately forty minutes later, after emergency responders evacuated the area, a second explosion of equal magnitude ripped through the site without causing injury.

When the sun rose and the dust settled, emergency workers had the grim task of evaluating the war-like scene and locating the fallen firefighters. The explosion carved craters eight feet deep in the dirt where the trailers once stood. One whole fire truck vaporized and human remains were scattered for hundreds of yards. November 29th, 1988 is the darkest day in the Kansas City Fire Department’s history. By noon that day, the whole city wanted answers how and why this explosion happened.

Answers wouldn't come quickly, Jackson County, Missouri Prosecutor Albert Riederer would press and drop charges against teenager Bryan Sheppard in 1989. The ATF and US Department of Labor investigated organized labor for years but didn't turn up anything.  Kansas City police and the ATF combined to comb the metro area investigating hundreds of tips and leads only to come up emptyhanded year after year. Eight years after the explosion, with the help of a $50,000 reward, the US Attorney’s Office indicted and convicted Bryan Sheppard and four others in a trial criticized for relying on jailhouse informants instead of eye-witness accounts or physical evidence.  The five defendants maintain their innocence and many people have come to doubt their guilt.

This site encourages visitors to start their own investigation into media records, videos, photographs and documents from the case. Soon to be released forensic evidence may prove what really happened that night. Ending what is almost three decades of speculation, science may soon be called on to solve this enduring mystery.

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