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Thomas Ronald "Tom" Baron (died 27 April 1967) was a quality control and safety inspector for North American Aviation (NAA), when it was the primary contractor to build the Apollo command module.
After the Apollo 1 fire Baron wrote a 500-page report on NASA safety protocol violations, which he gave to Rep. Olin E. Teague's investigation at Cape Kennedy, Florida, on April 21, 1967. When Baron mentioned the report during his testimony, Teague told him "Your report went to the chairman of the full committee, not to me", and that "something of that length ... we can take it as an exhibit."
Six days after his testimony, Baron was killed instantly, along with his wife and stepdaughter, when a train crashed into their car near their home in Florida. Baron's death, which was witnessed by a woman, was later ruled as an accident, with no suspicion of foul play. The chairman of the NASA Oversight Committee claimed that Baron had made a valuable contribution to the Apollo fire probe, but that he had been "overzealous".
Baron actually wrote two reports. The first, a 57-page report, was presented to NASA officials in January 1967, alleging improper actions and irregularities he had witnessed while working at the Kennedy Space Center (KSC). NAA managers met with Baron to address his report; they decided that some of Baron's criticisms had merit, but that the rest of his report was inapplicable or unfounded for a variety of reasons. After leaking his report to the media, he was fired. Baron then started to assemble a more thorough report. After the Apollo 1 fire, he delivered this report, containing at least 500 pages, to the Congressional committees investigating the incident.
- Garber, Steve (January 27, 2010). "Chapter 9". Apollo-1 (204). NASA. Retrieved September 22, 2010.
- "Source Notes: Chapter 18: The Fire That Seared the Spaceport". NASA. Retrieved September 22, 2010.
- Bizony, Piers (2006). The man who ran the moon: James E. Webb and the secret history of Project Apollo. Thunder's Mouth Press. p. 138.
- "Baron Report (1965-1966)". history.nasa.gov. Retrieved 2008-12-15.
- Daytona Beach Morning Journal, May 4, 1967.
- C. D. Benson and W. B. Faherty (2001), Moon Launch: A History of the Saturn-Apollo Launch Operations, p. 389