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Former Seneca Army Depot may have once housed nuclear weapons

August 11, 2017 06:41 PM

With tensions between the United States and North Korea rising -- and concerns about nuclear warfare growing -- people in Seneca County are taking special notice. It's because of a history of nuclear weapons they say their area has.

Historians say the Seneca Army Depot, which closed in 2000, housed tactical nuclear weapons from the 1950s into the 1990s.

"I think it highlights something that we don't often enough think about in a war, even if it's on foreign soil," said Seneca County Historian Walter Gable. "What is the impact that's having? What is making it possible behind the scenes?"

This was the definition of "behind the scenes" from 1941 until 2000. Now, with the threat of nuclear attacks, Gable has been reflecting on the depot's former role for the army. Why does he think tactical nuclear weapons were kept here?

"The United States Army brought in special military guard personnel that are only brought in to guard special weapons facilities," he said.

In 1983, protestors who think Gable is right showed up at the depot to protest against nuclear weapons.

"It is the policy of the Department of Defense to neither confirm nor deny the existence or absence of nuclear weapons at any location," a depot official told News10NBC at the time.

We reached out to the Department of Defense to see if there was anything they could tell us now that the depot is closed. Our request for information has not been answered.

Gable believes he knows, however. He claims the weapons were housed in what is known as the "Q Area" of the depot.

"I went down there for surveys once in a while because a vehicle would crash in a fence or something, and you had to check it out," said Fred Swick, who worked at the depot for 32 years. "It had a fence, two fences around it. First fence, you could get over, but if you tried the next one, you would be electrocuted."

As for the North Korean nuclear threat, Swick told us, "It doesn't concern me because our military could shoot it down."

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Chris Horvatits

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