Napalm back in California without protest
April 20, 1998
Web posted at: 9:04 a.m. EDT (1304 GMT)
In this story:
RIDGECREST, California (CNN) -- A train carrying 12,000
gallons of Vietnam War-era napalm is back in California after
a week-long, protest-filled trip that forced its return from
the Midwest, where the jellied gasoline was to be recycled.
Meantime, Californians who have lived near the napalm for 25
years wondered what all the fuss is about.
The train arrived quietly Sunday at the China Lake Naval
Weapons Center, located in the desert 120 miles northwest of
Los Angeles, where it will be stored until a recycling
company can be found to replace the one that backed out of
Over two years, the Navy had planned to ship a total of 3.3
million gallons of napalm in aluminum canisters that have sat
in an open field at the Fallbrook Naval Weapons Facility,
north of San Diego, since 1973.
A train carrying the jellied gasoline en route to
California travels through Belen, New Mexico, Saturday
But Pollution Control Industries of East Chicago, Indiana, citing political and public pressure, abruptly backed out of its contract on April 13, two days after the first shipment left Fallbrook for the Midwest.
The train carrying the napalm, a firebomb ingredient, turned
back after reaching Kansas City, Kansas.
Navy Lt. Cmdr. John Smith called China Lake "a good, safe,
temporary solution." Most in the neighboring city of Barstow
"You can see this is not exactly prime real estate. The
people living here have other things to worry about," Roy
Salgado, a Barstow property manager, told the Orange County
|Residents of Fallbrook not afraid of napalm|
AIFF or WAV|
(69 K / 6 sec. audio)
AIFF or WAV|
(82 K / 7 sec. audio)
Barstow Fire Chief Dale Milligan said last week that he
wasn't worried about the shipment moving through his
That also was the view in Fallbrook, a town of 37,000 people
perhaps best known for another export -- avocados.
As Fallbrook celebrated its avocado festival on Sunday,
residents told CNN they don't understand why other parts of
the country are so scared of napalm shipments, which they
consider safer than gasoline.
Correspondent Jim Hill contributed to this report.