Explosion At Eglin Air Force Base Prompts Evacuation Amid Toxic Smoke Fears

news
Smoke rises from Eglin Air Force Base after an unexplained explosion on July 5
Screenshot via ABC-3 Flordai

Editor’s Note: This article by Oriana Pawlyk originally appeared on Military.com, the premier source of information for the military and veteran community.


Officials at Eglin Air Force Base, Florida, are warning airmen and nearby residents to avoid a perimeter around McKinley Climatic Lab after an unexplained explosion occurred at the on-base facility on July 5.

"A little before 10 a.m., an explosion occurred at McKinley Climatic Lab," Eglin officials said in a Facebook post.

No injuries have been reported.

First responders established a 1,000-ft perimeter, and surrounding areas were evacuated, the post said. Officials said to avoid contact with smoke from the blast, even as it continues to dissipate.

Officials first warned the smoke may have contained methyl chloride, but later said, "It has not been determined that the smoke contained methyl chloride. However, the incident occurred in an area within close proximity of said chemical."

Methyl chloride can be used as a cooling mechanism; its use has been curtailed, however, because of toxic effects and flammability.

Officials are asking anyone stationed between Eglin Boulevard and Van Matre Avenue — roughly a three-mile stretch — to temporarily shelter in place and turn off their heating, ventilation and air conditioning systems to avoid circulating smoke in their homes.

Eglin spokeswoman Ilka Cole told Military.com there is no explanation for what caused the explosion at this time. She could not say whether anyone was in the building at the time of the explosion, but said "people normally work in that building."

"We will provide updates as we receive them. The cause is currently under investigation," Cole said.

The McKinley Lab is responsible for high-range weather testing of military and commercial aircraft, munitions and weapons.

Cole could not say how much damage the explosion has caused, or if the blast aftermath will shut down the facility until the investigation is complete.

The article originally appeared on Military.com.

More from Military.com:

WATCH NEXT:

U.S. Air Force/Staff Sgt. Sandra Welch

This article originally appeared on Military.com.

Inside Forward Operating Base Oqab in Kabul, Afghanistan stands a wall painted with a mural of an airman kneeling before a battlefield cross. Beneath it, a black gravestone bookended with flowers and dangling dog tags displays the names of eight U.S. airmen and an American contractor killed in a horrific insider attack at Kabul International Airport in 2011.

It's one of a number of such memorials ranging from plaques, murals and concrete T-walls scattered across Afghanistan. For the last eight years, those tributes have been proof to the families of the fallen that their loved ones have not been forgotten. But with a final U.S. pullout from Afghanistan possibly imminent, those families fear the combat-zone memorials may be lost for good.

Read More Show Less
DOD photo

After a string of high profile incidents, the commander overseeing the Navy SEALs released an all hands memo stating that the elite Naval Special Warfare community has a discipline problem, and pinned the blame on those who place loyalty to their teammates over the Navy and the nation they serve.

Read More Show Less
Ed Mahoney/Kickstarter

In June 2011 Iraq's defense minister announced that U.S. troops who had deployed to the country would receive the Iraq Commitment Medal in recognition of their service. Eight years later, millions of qualified veterans have yet to receive it.

The reason: The Iraqi government has so far failed to provide the medals to the Department of Defense for approval and distribution.

A small group of veterans hopes to change that.

Read More Show Less
F-16 Fighting Falcon (Photo: US Air Force)

For a cool $8.5 million, you could be the proud owner of a "fully functioning" F-16 A/B Fighting Falcon fighter jet that a South Florida company acquired from Jordan.

The combat aircraft, which can hit a top speed of 1,357 mph at 40,000 feet, isn't showroom new — it was built in 1980. But it still has a max range of 2,400 miles and an initial climb rate of 62,000 feet per minute and remains militarized, according to The Drive, an automotive website that also covers defense topics, WBDO News 96.5 reported Wednesday.

Read More Show Less