AKRON (May 19, 2006) — Amid billowing smoke and flames, Akron firefighters — some tied to the roof for safety — extinguished a fire that began late morning May 18 on the historic former Goodyear airdock, built by the tire maker in 1929 as a home base for its zeppelins and blimp fleet.
The flames burned for about an hour and a half but were confined to the 687,000 square feet of rubberized exterior skin of the 22-story structure, according to news reports. Firefighters were at first stymied, unable to get water to reach the top of the airdock due to its height. Eventually they reached the roof by using interior catwalks, ladders and an elevator to the top of the 211-foot building, which is about seven football fields long, the Akron Beacon Journal reported.
The airdock has been owned since 1996 by Lockheed Martin, which is using the structure to house construction of a $149.2 million High Altitude Airship prototype scheduled to begin in 2007 and have its first flight two years later.
A spokeswoman for the company told the Beacon Journal the project—part of Lockheed Martin's MS2 Defense and Surveillance Systems—is still on schedule despite the fire.