Jay Barbree (left)and Gus Grissom around the time of the astronaut's Gemini 3 flight in 1965. (Courtesy Jay Barbree)

Before the Fire

Veteran space reporter Jay Barbree recalls Apollo's darkest day.


(Continued from page 4)

The medical readings showed Ed White’s pulse rate jumped off the charts – showed the three astronauts burst into instant movement.

The first call from Apollo 1 smashed into the launch team’s headsets.


One word from Ed White.

Then, the unmistakable deep voice of Gus Grissom.

“I’ve got a fire in the cockpit!”

Instantly afterward, Roger Chaffee’s voice:


Then a garbled transmission, and then the final plea:

“Get us out!”

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