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Alfred P.
Murrah Federal Building as it appeared before its destruction

The Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building was a United States Federal Government complex located at 200 N.W. 5th Street in downtown Oklahoma Citymarker, Oklahomamarker, United Statesmarker. The building was the target of the Oklahoma City bombingmarker on April 19, 1995, which killed 168 people. The remains of the building were imploded a month after the attack, and the Oklahoma City National Memorialmarker was built on the site.

Construction and use

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

By the 1990s, the building contained regional offices for the Social Security Administration, Federal Bureau of Investigationmarker (FBI), the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA), and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives (ATF). The building also contained recruiting offices for both the Army and the Marine Corps. It housed approximately 550 employees. In May 1994, the General Accounting Office recommended the removal of the day care center from the building.


Murrah Building after the attack

At 9:02 a.m. on April 19, 1995, a Ryder rental truck, containing approximately 5,000 pounds (2,300 kg) of ammonium nitrate fertilizer, nitromethane, and diesel fuel was detonated in front of the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building, destroying a third of the building and causing severe damage to several other buildings located nearby. As a result of the massive explosion, 168 people were killed and over 800 others were injured. It was the largest terrorist attack on American soil in history before the September 11 attacks. It remains the deadliest act of domestic terrorism in American history.

Timothy McVeigh was found guilty of the attack and was sentenced to death. He was executed in 2001. A co-conspirator, Terry Nichols, is serving multiple life sentences in a federal prison. A third and fourth subject, Michael Fortier and his wife Lori, assisted in the plot, and 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.


Murrah Building during the recovery effort
Rescue and recovery efforts were concluded at 11:50 p.m. on May 4, with the bodies of all but three victims recovered. For safety reasons, the building was 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. More than a month after the bombing, at 7:01 a.m. on May 23, the Murrah Federal building was demolished. The final three bodies, those of two credit union employees and a customer, were recovered. For several days after the building's demolition, trucks hauled 800 tons of debris a day away from the site. Some of the debris 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.

Remnants and replacement

There are still several existing remnants of the Murrah Building on the current site of the Oklahoma City National Memorial. Its plaza (on what was once the south side of the building) still exists and has been incorporated into the memorial; the Murrah Building's original flagpole is still in use. The east wall of the Murrah Building (within the building's footprint) is still intact, as well as portions of the south wall. Also, the building's underground parking garage survived the blast and is still in use today; however, it is tightly guarded and not open to the public.

The Federal government began construction of a new building to replace the Murrah Building in late 2000. This new building was placed just to the north of where the Murrah Building had been located, and incorporated a number of security measures implemented after the bombing of the Murrah Building.


  2. Clive Irving, ed., In Their Name (New York: Random House, 1995); ISBN 0-679-44825-X.
  3. The Christian Science Monitor, Article date:January 23, 2006

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