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NFPA Journal looks back at the plane crash at the Empire State Building
On the morning of July 28, 1945, William Smith, Jr., a lieutenant colonel in the U.S. Army Air Corps, flew his B-25 bomber straight into the Empire State Building, killing himself, a crewman, a passenger, and 11 people in the building. The impact tore a hole in the building about 18 feet (5.5 meters) wide and 20 feet (6 meters) high, and ripped the fuel tanks off the plane's fuselage. One of the tanks shot through the 79th floor, trailing flames, and out the other side, while the second fell down an elevator shaft, starting a fire that ignited the fuel that had spread throughout the area of impact. For more of the story, read "Looking Back" in the July/August issue of NFPA Journal.