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What is a missile silo? There may be more of them in Colorado than you thought


DENVER — Curiosity got the best of a group of Colorado teens over the weekend after one of them fell 30 feet down an abandoned missile silo near Deer Trail in Arapahoe County.

After a dangerous rescue operation, crews managed to free the 18-year-old man from the bottom of the complex and airlifted him to the hospital with serious injuries Sunday morning. Seven other teens that were part of the group were unharmed.

Local News

Crews rescue teenage boy from abandoned missile silo near Deer Trail

9:01 AM, May 05, 2024

The silo the teens were exploring, Complex 2B, is 1 of 6 Titan I missile complexes in the state that the federal government abandoned more than 50 years ago.

The Titan I was a 98-foot-long, two-stage missile deployed during the height of the Cold War and was designed to carry nuclear warheads that could destroy civilization.

They were deemed obsolete after newer more powerful missiles were developed. The Colorado Titan missile sites were decommissioned, and the missiles removed in 1965.

The silo where the teen fell is on private property and is fenced off with a gate that appears to have been damaged. The property owner told Denver7 he plans to press charges.

The other abandoned Titan silos in Colorado are on the former Lowry Bombing and Gunnery Range east of Aurora, where four silos are located. The sixth one is located south of Elizabeth.

The state health department has been working with the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers to evaluate and clean the complexes, some of which have elevated levels of PCBs.

But wait, there’s more … abandoned intercontinental ballistic missile sites in Colorado!

There are five former Atlas E missile sites scattered across the northern plains in Weld and Larimer counties, according to the Colorado Department of Public Health and Environment.

Weld County was home to four of the five Atlas II missile sites from 1961 through 1965. The complex is now part of the Weld County Missile Site Park and used as county storage.

In 2014, Denver7 took a tour of the Weld County Atlas II missile site. You can watch the video in the player below:

Two of the Atlas sites are used for commercial purposes, one is being converted into a residence, and another is covered with soil and is owned by the U.S. Forest Service.

There are still active ICBM sites in the country. F.E. Warren Air Force Base near Cheyenne is home to the 90th Missile Wing, which operates 150 Minuteman III ICBMs on full alert 24 hours a day, 365 days a year.


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