B-1 Bomber Catches Fire on Flight Line at Dyess

A B-1B bomber caught fire on the flight line at Dyess Air Force Base, Texas, on April 20, the base announced.

The fire started around 10 p.m. during “routine engine maintenance” while the B-1 Lancer was parked, according to a Dyess press release. 

Two individuals were injured during the fire and transported to a local medical facility with “non-life-threatening injuries,” according to the release. They were later released.

A Dyess Air Force Base public affairs official told Air Force Magazine that the cause of the fire and whether the aircraft can be salvaged are still being investigated. Information on the injured individuals, including whether they were members of the aircrew or maintainers, is not being released at this time.

A 39-second video posted to the popular unofficial “Air Force amn/nco/snco” Facebook page purports to show the B-1 engulfed in massive flames. An individual can be seen running to and away from the aircraft before an emergency vehicle arrives and the video ends.

The Dyess official said the base is aware of the video and is currently investigating. She could not confirm the video’s veracity.

Air Force Global Strike Command did not immediately respond to an Air Force Magazine query as to whether the B-1 fleet has been grounded in response to the incident, but in a statement, Col. Joseph Kramer, commander of the 7th Bomb Wing at Dyess, said, “our B-1 fleet and warfighters remain ready to execute any long-range strike mission.”

“We are so grateful that all members of Team Dyess involved have been treated and are now safely back at home,” Kramer added. “Thank you to our first responders who arrived immediately on scene and executed a real-world emergency response with the same level of professionalism and proficiency as they do in training.”

Operations at Dyess are proceeding as usual, the official told Air Force Magazine, “except for that one area of the flight line.” Clean-up operations are underway.

As of September 2021, only 45 B-1Bs were left in the Air Force fleet. Air Force Global Strike Command retired 17 B-1s last year, however, the rest of the fleet is expected to remain in service until the new B-21 Raider comes online.