A 25-to-35-knot wind hampered the efforts of fire-fighters at McMurdo Sound on 2 February , when flames from a blaze of an undetermined origin broke out in two Quonset huts, causing over $200,000 damage. Both buildings, housing a parachute loft and an aviation electronics shop, burned to the ground, resulting in the loss of expensive electronics equipment required to maintain the repair of VX-6 aircraft, and diminishing the potential of the Squadron's para-rescue team, a four-man unit especially trained to parachute to the aid of Navy men and scientists in isolated areas of Antarctica.
When the fire was first discovered, at 10:00 p.m., it was feared that Richard R. Spaulding, Parachute Rigger Second Glass, USN, was in his bunk in the parachute loft. However, he was one of the first to arrive on the scene when the alarm was sounded.
[Text from the Bulletin of the US Antarctic Projects Officer, Vol. 2 No. 6, February, 1961, p. 7. Illustrations are US Navy photos (left photo from TF-43 cruisebook, right photo from Bruce Raymond)]