JIM GARNER WORKED IN THE LATE 70S for a company; called Brownyard Steel Fabrication, which was doing contract work for Rocketdyne at the Santa Susana lab, we wrote in “Hot Zone,” a 1998 Los Angeles magazine cover story. He recalls standing in a steel vault 60 feet underground, tearing out old ironwork and putting new pieces in. “I was down there with a cutting torch, a hard hat, a pair of burns glasses, gloves and a T-shirt. I kept hearing a funny noise; and looked around, and there were two gentlemen about ten feet away from me with full-on hazardous-material; fresh-air breathers and Geiger counters. I asked my foreman, ‘What’s going on? Who are these people?’ His reply was, ‘Don’t worry about it. They work for Rocketdyne. Just go back to work.’ Later; I find they’re taking radiation levels and that there was also al gamma radiation detector installed at the bottom of that vault. I also found out that they were taking helicopter readings on how hot that area was.”

Garner is utterly convinced his cancer was caused by Rocketdyne. “They put me in jeopardy, deliberately. They knew what was there. They did not protect me whatsoever. They did not care whether I lived or died.”

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20 years of ongoing SSFL/Rocketdyne investigative reporting
June 1998June 2018