National Personnel Records Center (NPRC) Fire

About the Fire

Many misconceptions exist regarding the fire at the NPRC and the records that were lost that day.

The fire started on July 12, 1973 just after midnight. Two fire trucks were on the scene within four minutes of the first call for emergency services. Eventually forty-two fire districts responded to this fire in an effort to save as many records as possible. It was not until July 16, nearly four and a half days after the fire started, that the local fire department called the fire officially out.

Records Lost

The following table lists the records lost:

Branch Personnel and Period Affected
Estimated Loss
Army Personnel discharged November 1, 1912 to January 1, 1960 80%
Air Force
Personnel discharged September 25, 1947 to January 1, 1964
(with names alphabetically after Hubbard, James E.)

No duplicate copies of these records were ever maintained, nor were microfilm copies produced. Neither were any indexes created prior to the fire. In addition, millions of documents had been lent to the Department of Veterans Affairs before the fire occurred. Therefore, a complete listing of the records that were lost is not available. However, in the years following the fire, the NPRC collected numerous series of records (referred to as Auxiliary Records) that are used to reconstruct basic service information.

Filing a Claim

Do not hesitate to file a claim for a service connected condition because you believe your records may have been destroyed!