Lights! Camera! Disaster!
The Century 22 Film Studio in the Nevada desert was in the midst of shooting their latest disaster movie, Brink of Destruction, when a special effects sequence involving pyrotechnics got desperately out of hand.
The miniature explosions were much more powerful than expected and within seconds, the studio roof was ablaze. The heavy wooden beams crisscrossing the ceiling were old and tinder-dry and it didn’t take long for the flames to weaken them.
With a loud crackling snap, several broke apart and tumbled to the studio floor, coming to rest against the door to the workshop where several technicians were busy working. While the rest of the film crew evacuated, the three technicians remained trapped in their workshop. The moment the crew realised that their colleagues were trapped, they called for help.
Unfortunately, the local fire and rescue teams were already attending a larger incident scene and it would be some time before they could reach the remote studio, so a mayday call was issued directly to International Rescue.
In minutes, Thunderbird One was airborne with Scott at the controls and he was followed swiftly by Virgil and Gordon in Thunderbird Two.
By the time the magnificent Thunderbird craft arrived on the scene, the fire had spread to several neighbouring film stages on the lot.
Scott issued a series of orders over the radio, “Okay Virgil, here’s the situation. The film technicians are trapped in a workshop at the back of Stage R. Tell Gordon to clear a path to the rear entrance with the Fire Cat. I’ll undertake to get through the workshop wall from there. Meanwhile, I want you back in the air getting to work with those foam bombs.”
“FAB, Scott,” Virgil replied, “Lowering Pod now!”
At the flick of a switch, the mighty Thunderbird Two raised up on its hydraulic legs revealing the domed shape of Pod One. The flap was quickly lowered and with the roar of a powerful engine, Gordon drove the bright red Fire Cat out onto the desert sand.
“Mobile Control from Fire Cat,” Gordon called, “Activating fire suppression systems!”
As Thunderbird Two took to the air with its pod back in place, Scott saw Gordon angling the rear turret on the Fire Cat. There was a series of booms as the multi-purpose launcher fired a barrage of “snuffer” shells at strategically determined points.
Seconds later there was staccato of muffled explosions as each charge detonated, blowing out a portion of the fire.
“Proceeding with Phase Two!” Gordon reported, engaging the high-pressure suppressant pump and blanketing the approach to Stage R with a layer of white retardant foam.
Scott had changed into his heat-resistant suit and, carrying the breach charges in a steel box, hurried along behind the Fire Cat as it reached the back of Stage R.
“Virgil, I’ve reached the Stage and am about to place the charges. How are you making out?”
Virgil’s voice came back over the radio, “Starting my run now!”
Lining up his low-altitude pass, Virgil fired the crafts motors and then activated the release mechanism for the foam bombs.
Each one dropped out of a hatch in the base of the Pod at preset intervals, and on impact they produced a thick cloud of suppressant powder that made the desert studio look like a winter wonderland.
“The fire’s under control, Scott,” Virgil reported, “It’s over to you now!”
“FAB!” Scott replied as he took cover behind the front tracks of the Fire Cat, “Detonating charges!”
Three sharp cracks split the air and a section of the Stage wall crumbled away. The three technicians appeared through the small cloud of dust looking shaken, but otherwise unharmed.
“This way, folks!” Scott called, beckoning them over to the rescue vehicle, “You’re going to be all right now!”
“Thanks, Mister!” one of the technicians replied, “I knew we were making a disaster picture, but I didn’t realise I was going to be the star!”