Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building

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Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building
Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building before destruction.jpg
The Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building
Alternative namesAlfred P. Murrah Building
General information
Address200 Northwest 5th Street
Town or city Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
Country United States of America
OpenedMarch 2, 1977
DemolishedMay 23, 1995;23 years ago (1995-05-23)(damaged on April 19, 1995)
OwnerUnited States federal government

The Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building was a United States federal government complex located at 200 N.W. 5th Street in Downtown Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, United States. On April 19, 1995, at 9:02 am the building was the target of the Oklahoma City bombing, which killed 168 people, 19 of whom were children under the age of six. [1] Half of the building collapsed seconds after the truck bomb detonated. The remains were imploded a month after the attack, and the Oklahoma City National Memorial was built on the site.

Federal government of the United States National government of the United States

The Federal Government of the United States is the national government of the United States, a federal republic in North America, composed of 50 states, a federal district, five major self-governing territories, and several island possessions. The federal government is composed of three distinct branches: legislative, executive, and judicial, whose powers are vested by the U.S. Constitution in the Congress, the President, and the federal courts, respectively. The powers and duties of these branches are further defined by acts of congress, including the creation of executive departments and courts inferior to the Supreme Court.

Downtown Oklahoma City Neighborhoods of Oklahoma City in the United States

Downtown Oklahoma City is located at the geographic center of the Oklahoma City metropolitan area and contains the principal, central business district of the region. The CBD has over 51,000 workers and over 12,000,000 sq ft (1,100,000 m2) of leasable office space to-date. Downtown Oklahoma City is the legal, financial, economic, nightlife, and entertainment center of the region.

Oklahoma City State capital city in Oklahoma, United States

Oklahoma City, often shortened to OKC, is the capital and largest city of the U.S. state of Oklahoma. The county seat of Oklahoma County, the city ranks 27th among United States cities in population. The population grew following the 2010 Census, with the population estimated to have increased to 643,648 as of July 2017. As of 2018, the Oklahoma City metropolitan area had a population of 1,396,445, and the Oklahoma City-Shawnee Combined Statistical Area had a population of 1,469,124 residents, making it Oklahoma's largest metropolitan area.


Construction and use

The building was designed by architect Wendell Locke of Locke, Wright and Associates and constructed by J.W. Bateson using reinforced concrete in 1977 [2] at a cost of $14.5 million. The building, named for federal judge Alfred P. Murrah, an Oklahoma native, opened on March 2, 1977. [3]

Reinforced concrete composite building material

Reinforced concrete (RC) (also called reinforced cement concrete or RCC) is a composite material in which concrete's relatively low tensile strength and ductility are counteracted by the inclusion of reinforcement having higher tensile strength or ductility. The reinforcement is usually, though not necessarily, steel reinforcing bars (rebar) and is usually embedded passively in the concrete before the concrete sets. Reinforcing schemes are generally designed to resist tensile stresses in particular regions of the concrete that might cause unacceptable cracking and/or structural failure. Modern reinforced concrete can contain varied reinforcing materials made of steel, polymers or alternate composite material in conjunction with rebar or not. Reinforced concrete may also be permanently stressed, so as to improve the behaviour of the final structure under working loads. In the United States, the most common methods of doing this are known as pre-tensioning and post-tensioning.

Alfred P. Murrah American judge

Alfred Paul Murrah was a United States Circuit Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit and previously was a United States District Judge of the United States District Court for the Eastern District of Oklahoma, the United States District Court for the Northern District of Oklahoma and the United States District Court for the Western District of Oklahoma.

By the 1990s, the building contained regional offices for the Social Security Administration, the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development, the United States Secret Service, the Department of Veterans Affairs vocational rehabilitation counseling center, the Drug Enforcement Administration (D.E.A.), and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms (ATF). It also contained recruiting offices for the US Military. It housed approximately 550 employees. [4] It also housed America's Kids, a children's day care center.

Social Security Administration independent agency of the U.S. federal government

The United States Social Security Administration (SSA) is an independent agency of the U.S. federal government that administers Social Security, a social insurance program consisting of retirement, disability, and survivors' benefits. To qualify for most of these benefits, most workers pay Social Security taxes on their earnings; the claimant's benefits are based on the wage earner's contributions. Otherwise benefits such as Supplemental Security Income (SSI) are given based on need.

United States Secret Service U.S. federal law enforcement agency

The United States Secret Service is a federal law enforcement agency under the Department of Homeland Security charged with conducting criminal investigations and protecting the nation's leaders and past leaders. Until 2003, the Secret Service was part of the Department of the Treasury, as the agency was originally founded to combat the then-widespread counterfeiting of US currency.

Drug Enforcement Administration United States federal law enforcement agency

The Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) is a United States federal law enforcement agency under the United States Department of Justice, tasked with combating drug smuggling and distribution within the United States. The DEA is the lead agency for domestic enforcement of the Controlled Substances Act, sharing concurrent jurisdiction with the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI), Immigration and Customs Enforcement (ICE), U.S. Customs and Border Protection (CBP), and the Department of Homeland Security (DHS). It has sole responsibility for coordinating and pursuing US drug investigations both domestic and abroad.

Prior bombing plots

In October 1983, members of the white supremacist group The Covenant, The Sword, and the Arm of the Lord (CSA), including founder James Ellison and Richard Snell plotted to park "a van or trailer in front of the Federal Building and blow it up with rockets detonated by a timer." [5] While the CSA was building a rocket launcher to attack the building, the ordnance accidentally detonated in one of the member's hands. The CSA took this as divine intervention and called off the planned attack. Convicted of murder in an unrelated case, Richard Snell was executed on April 19, 1995, the same day the bombing of the federal building was carried out, after Associate Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas declined to hear further appeal. [6] Snell reportedly spent his last day watching news coverage of the bombing and laughing to himself.

The Covenant, The Sword, and the Arm of the Lord organization

The Covenant, the Sword, and the Arm of the Lord was a far right terrorist organization dedicated to Christian Identity and survivalism that was active in the United States during the 1970s and early 1980s. The CSA developed from a Baptist congregation called the Zarephath-Horeb Community Church, founded in 1971 in the small community of Elijah in southern Missouri. Over time, Zarephath-Horeb evolved into an extremist paramilitary organization and was rechristened CSA. CSA operated a large compound in northern Arkansas called "the Farm". In April 1985, law enforcement officers investigating the group for weapons violations and terrorist acts carried out a siege against the compound. After a peaceful resolution, officers arrested and convicted CSA's top leaders, and the organization dissolved.

Richard Wayne Snell was an American spree killer and white supremacist, convicted for the killing of two people in Arkansas on June 30, 1984. Snell was sentenced to death for one of the murders, and executed by lethal injection in 1995.

Divine providence

In theology, divine providence, or just providence, is God's intervention in the Universe. The term Divine Providence is also used as a title of God. A distinction is usually made between "general providence", which refers to God's continuous upholding of the existence and natural order of the Universe, and "special providence", which refers to God's extraordinary intervention in the life of people. Miracles generally fall in the latter category.


Murrah Building during the recovery effort Murrah Building Before Demolition.JPG
Murrah Building during the recovery effort

At 9:02 a.m. local time on April 19, 1995, a Ryder rental truck, containing approximately 7,000 pounds (3175 kg) of ammonium nitrate fertilizer, nitromethane, and diesel fuel was detonated in front of the building, destroying a third of it and causing severe damage to several other buildings located nearby. As a result, 168 people were killed, including 19 children, and over 800 others were injured. [7] It remains the deadliest domestic terrorist attack, with the most property damage, on American soil.

Ammonium nitrate chemical compound

Ammonium nitrate is a chemical compound, the nitrate salt of the ammonium cation. It has the chemical formula NH4NO3, simplified to N2H4O3. It is a white crystal solid and is highly soluble in water. It is predominantly used in agriculture as a high-nitrogen fertilizer. Its other major use is as a component of explosive mixtures used in mining, quarrying, and civil construction. It is the major constituent of ANFO, a popular industrial explosive which accounts for 80% of explosives used in North America; similar formulations have been used in improvised explosive devices. Many countries are phasing out its use in consumer applications due to concerns over its potential for misuse.

Nitromethane is an organic compound with the chemical formula CH
. It is the simplest organic nitro compound. It is a polar liquid commonly used as a solvent in a variety of industrial applications such as in extractions, as a reaction medium, and as a cleaning solvent. As an intermediate in organic synthesis, it is used widely in the manufacture of pharmaceuticals, pesticides, explosives, fibers, and coatings. Nitromethane is used as a fuel additive in various motorsports and hobbies, e.g. Top Fuel drag racing and miniature internal combustion engines in radio control, control line and free flight model aircraft.

Diesel fuel liquid fuel used in diesel engines

Diesel fuel in general is any liquid fuel used in diesel engines, whose fuel ignition takes place, without any spark, as a result of compression of the inlet air mixture and then injection of fuel. Diesel engines have found broad use as a result of higher thermodynamic efficiency and thus fuel efficiency. This is particularly noted where diesel engines are run at part-load; as their air supply is not throttled as in a petrol engine, their efficiency still remains very high.

Timothy McVeigh, a US Army veteran, was found guilty of the attack in a jury trial and sentenced to death. He was executed in 2001. A co-conspirator, Terry Nichols, is serving multiple life sentences in a federal prison. Third and fourth subjects, Michael Fortier and his wife, Lori, assisted in the plot. They testified against both McVeigh and Nichols in exchange for a 12-year prison term for Michael and immunity for Lori. Michael was released into the witness protection program in January 2006. [8]

Timothy McVeigh American domestic anti-government terrorist

Timothy James McVeigh was an American domestic terrorist who perpetrated the 1995 Oklahoma City bombing, which killed 168 people and injured over 680 others. The bombing was the deadliest act of terrorism within the United States prior to the September 11 attacks, and remains the deadliest act of domestic terrorism in United States history.

United States Army Land warfare branch of the United States Armed Forces

The United States Army (USA) is the land warfare service branch of the United States Armed Forces. It is one of the seven uniformed services of the United States, and is designated as the Army of the United States in the United States Constitution. As the oldest and most senior branch of the U.S. military in order of precedence, the modern U.S. Army has its roots in the Continental Army, which was formed to fight the American Revolutionary War (1775–1783)—before the United States of America was established as a country. After the Revolutionary War, the Congress of the Confederation created the United States Army on 3 June 1784 to replace the disbanded Continental Army. The United States Army considers itself descended from the Continental Army, and dates its institutional inception from the origin of that armed force in 1775.

Terry Nichols American terrorist and mass murderer

Terry Lynn Nichols is an American domestic terrorist who was convicted of being an accomplice in the Oklahoma City bombing. Prior to his incarceration, he held a variety of short-term jobs, working as a farmer, grain elevator manager, real estate salesman and ranch hand. He met his future co-conspirator, Timothy McVeigh, during a brief stint in the U.S. Army, which ended in 1989 when he requested a hardship discharge after less than one year of service. In 1994 and 1995, he conspired with McVeigh in the planning and preparation of the Oklahoma City bombing – the truck bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, on April 19, 1995. The bombing claimed the lives of 168 people.

McVeigh said that he bombed the building on the second anniversary of the Waco siege in 1993 to retaliate for U.S. government actions there and at the siege at Ruby Ridge. Before his execution, he said that he did not know a day care center was in the building and that, had he known, "It might have given me pause to switch targets." [1] The FBI said that he scouted the interior of the building in December 1994 and likely knew of the day care center before the bombing. [9]

Artwork in the building

Many works of art were in the building when it was destroyed in the Oklahoma City bombing. [10] The Oklahoma City National Memorial displays art that survived the bombing. Lost works are as follows:

An untitled acrylic sculpture by Fred Eversley was severely damaged, but survived the blast.


The bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City was one of the deadliest acts of terrorism in American history. Murrah Building - Aerial.jpg
The bombing of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building in Oklahoma City was one of the deadliest acts of terrorism in American history.
Murrah Building during the cleanup and demolition operation Oklahomacitybombing-DF-ST-98-01356.jpg
Murrah Building during the cleanup and demolition operation

Rescue and recovery efforts were concluded at 11:50 pm on May 1, with the bodies of all but three victims recovered. [11] For safety reasons, the remains were to be demolished shortly afterward. However, McVeigh's attorney, Stephen Jones, called for a motion to delay the demolition until the defense team could examine the site in preparation for the trial. [12] More than a month after the bombing, at 7:01 am on May 23, the remains were demolished. [11] The final three bodies, those of two credit union employees and a customer, were recovered. [13] For several days after the remains' demolition, trucks hauled 800 tons of debris a day away from the site. Some of it was used as evidence in the conspirators' trials, incorporated into parts of memorials, donated to local schools, and sold to raise funds for relief efforts. [12]

Remnants and replacement

Several remnants of the building stand on the site of the Oklahoma City National Memorial. The plaza (on what was once its south side) has been incorporated into the memorial; the original flagpole is still in use. The east wall (within the building's footprint) is intact, as well as portions of the south wall. The underground parking garage survived the blast and is used today, but is guarded and closed to the public. [14]

The General Services Administration immediately sought to replace the facility. The building site is a transition zone between the Central Business District and the North Downtown neighborhood. The new 185,000 square foot building was designed by Ross Barney Architects of Chicago, Illinois, with Carol Ross Barney as the lead designer. [15] Constructed on a two city block site, one block north and west of the former site, the new building's design maximized sustainable design and workplace productivity initiatives. Security design was paramount to the Federal employees and its neighbors. Secure design was achieved based on the GSA's current standards for secure facilities including blast resistant glazing. Structural design resists progressive collapse. Building mass, glazing inside the courtyard, and bollards help to maintain a sense of openness and security. The art in architecture component of the building incorporates a water feature that acts as an additional security barrier. [16]

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Murrah may refer to:

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  1. 1 2 Archived 2011-09-10 at the Wayback Machine , Phoenix Disaster Recovery Newsletter: Retrieved 2001-03-29.
  2. US L Book 001975 Page 0180 Sequoyah County, OK Instrument I-US75-000180 Recorded October 22, 1975 at 9:00am Fees & Dates Fees $0.00 Mortgage amount $376.56 Document stamps $0.00 Recorded on 10/22/1975 9:00am Instrument date 10/16/1975 Released on 07/01/1982 Parties Grantor 🔍 Search US #7301-5031 Grantees 🔍 Search MILLAR, ROBERT B.🔍 Search MILLAR, LINDA J. Legal Description
  3. "Architect Says Bombed OK Building was Solidly Built". Transcript # 635-35, 7:07 pm ET, Interview by Linden Soles with Wendell Locke. CNN. April 19, 1995.
  4. "Car Bombing In Oklahoma City Jolts the Nation". All Things Considered. NPR. April 19, 1995.
  5. Thomas, Jo; Smothers, Ronald (May 20, 1995). "Oklahoma City Building Was Target Of Plot as Early as '83, Official Says". New York Times.
  6. "White Supremacist Executed For Murdering 2 in Arkansas". New York Times. April 21, 1995.
  7. Irving, Clive (1995). In Their Name. New York: Random House. ISBN   0-679-44825-X.
  8. The Christian Science Monitor, Article date: January 23, 2006
  9. "". CNN archives. CNN. March 29, 2001. Archived from the original on February 27, 2011. Retrieved June 5, 2009.
  10. An Oklahoma Tribute (PDF). US General Services Administration. pp. 24, 38–45. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2012-09-26.
  11. 1 2 Irving, Clive, ed. (1995). In Their Name (First ed.). New York City: Random House. ISBN   0-679-44825-X.
  12. 1 2 Linenthal, Edward (2001). The Unfinished Bombing: Oklahoma City in American Memory. New York: Oxford University Press. ISBN   0-19-513672-1.
  13. "CNN Interactive". Federal Building Demolition. Archived from the original on December 10, 2006. Retrieved February 1, 2007.
  14. "Oklahoma City National Memorial - Frequently Asked Questions". US National Park Service. Archived from the original on 21 November 2008. Retrieved 2008-12-20.
  15. "Structural Integrity". tribunedigital-chicagotribune. Retrieved 19 April 2015.
  16. "New Oklahoma City Federal Building: Groundbreaking Set for Tuesday". United States General Services Administration. Archived from the original on 2007-12-19. Retrieved 2007-07-02.