REMEMBERING The USS CONSTELLATION FIRE
On December 19, 1960 a fire broke out on the USS Constellation when a forklift accident caused 502 gallons of fuel to spill and become ignited by welders working in her lower decks. 50 men lost their lives, and it took 17 hours for firefighters to extinguish the blaze.
Today we remember those men who lost their lives through the words of Commandant Schuyler Neilson Pyne, which were published in the Navy Yard Shipworker on December 23, 1960.
A Message From the Shipyard Commander
The Hope and Faith and Brotherhood of Christmas should be with us all year round.
The hearts of all of us go out this Christmas Day to those of our brothers who perished in action, like soldiers in the battle, in the CONSTELLATION conflagration just a few days ago. Gto their loved ones, our deepest most heartfelt sympathy in this hour of grief we all share.
Mingled with our sorrow at this time is a great pride – the team that is the New York Naval Shipyard has added another dimension to their attributes – a heroism, bold and efficient, selfless, humane – above and beyond the call of duty.
Working with us, throughout the tragedy, displaying the highest type of esprit de corps – the New York City Fire Department, Police Department and Hospitals Department and other were living symbols of the Brotherhood of Americans who pitch in to help their neighbors in time of need.
To us as Americans, Christmas has special significance for it is we upon whom the mantle of leadership has fallen to help strengthen the moral fibre of the free world.