Incident Summary:

1/3/1970: Karl Armstrong, a member of the New Years Gang, broke into the University of Wisconsin's Primate Lab and set a fire on the first floor of the building. Armstrong intended to set fire to the Madison, Wisconsin, United States, Selective Service Headquarters across the street but mistakenly confused the building with the Primate Lab. The fire caused slight damages and was extinguished almost immediately.



United States

North America

region/u.s. state:



Attack Information
Type of Attack (more) Facility/Infrastructure Attack
Successful Attack? (more) Yes
Target Information (more)
Target Type: Government (General)
Name of Entity Selective Service
Specific Description Selective Service Headquarters in Madison Wisconsin
Nationality of Target United States
Additional Information
Hostages No
Ransom No
Property Damage Yes
Extent of Property Damage Minor (likely < $1 million)
Value of Property Damage Unknown
Weapon Information
Type Sub-type
Incendiary Gasoline or Alcohol
Weapon Details
Poured gasoline on the floor and lit it with a match
Additional Information
Suicide Attack?No
Part of Multiple Incident?No
Criterion 1 (more) Yes
Criterion 2 (more) Yes
Criterion 3 (more) Yes
Additional Information Karl Armstrong's girlfriend, Lynn Schultz, drove him to and from the Primate Lab. A day earlier Armstrong would firebomb the R.O.T.C. offices at the University of Wisconsin. (197001020003) Karl Armstrong would be captured after participating in the deadly bombing of Sterling Hall at the University of Wisconsin on August 24, 1970. (197008240001)
Perpetrator Group Information
Group Name Claimed Responsibility
New Year's Gang No
Perpetrator Statistics
Number of Perpetrators 1
Number of Captured Perpetrators 1
Casualty Information
Total Number of Casualties 0 Fatalities / 0 Injured
Total Number of Fatalities 0
Number of U.S. Fatalities 0
Number of Perpetrator Fatalities 0
Total Number of Injured 0
Number of U.S. Injured 0
Number of Perpetrators Injured 0
Committee on Government Operations United States Senate, "Riots, Civil, and Criminal Disorders," U.S. Government Printing Office, August 6, 1970.
Tom Bates, "Rads: The 1970 Bombing of the Army Math Research Center at the University of Wisconsin and Its Aftermath," HarperCollinsPublishing, 1992.
David Newman, Sandra Sutherland, and Jon Stewart, "The Madison Bomb Story: The Death the FBI Saw, Heard and Won't Talk About," Mother Jones, February-March, 1979.