In November 1988, the defendants attempted to burglarize storage trailers at a construction site. Frustrated by their lack of success, the criminals set a fire that quickly spread to a trailer containing 25,000 pounds of ammonium nitrate and fuel oil (ANFO). The ensuing explosion resulted in the deaths of six Kansas City, Missouri, firefighters.
ATF and the Kansas City Police and Fire Departments conducted an exhaustive investigation over the next nine years. Many early leads proved fruitless, and alibi witnesses lied about the suspects' whereabouts. Investigators were determined to find answers, eventually developing a strong, albeit circumstantial, case against five suspects.
This is the original emblem from the Kansas City (Missouri) Fire Department's pumper truck 41. It was recovered from the fire debris.
The Arrest and Adjudication
ATF Agents and Kansas City detectives finally made arrests in the case in June 1996, after a federal grand jury indicted the five suspects on the charge of arson resulting in death. After an emotional six-week trial involving 80 witnesses, all five defendants were convicted as charged and sentenced to life imprisonment without the possibility of parole.