Eglin Air Force base explosion: 1 airlifted after blast at Florida naval school
A contractor was lifted to Fort Walton Beach Medical Center on September 10, after an explosion at Eglin Air Force Base in Florida. According to reports, the contractor was injured in a blast on the base, but no structural damage was observed. The unidentified individual is reportedly being treated for non-life-threatening injuries at the medical center. Details of the incident are scarce at the moment, with the base issuing a very brief statement shortly after it happened.
The news comes just hours after Wright-Patterson Air Force Base in Ohio was put on lockdown on September 9. That dramatic step was taken after reports of an active shooter at the base, which turned out to be a false alarm. In April, an active-duty Navy hospital corpsman was killed at Fort Detrick in Maryland, after shooting two fellow service members just outside the base. In 2020, Fort Hood in Texas made the news numerous times after several service members linked to the base were found dead, all off-base though.
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Thankfully, no service members were killed or severely injured at Eglin AFB, which is home to several units including the 20th Space Control Squadron, 33rd Fighter Wing, 7th Special Forces Group (A), and 96th Test Wing. The vast base is also home to the Naval School of Explosive Ordnance Disposal (NAVSCOLEOD), which is where the explosion occurred. The school is managed by the US Navy, by jointly staffed by Army, Navy, Air Force, and Marine Corps personnel since it opened in 1999.
What happened at Eglin AFB?
"At approximately 9:45 AM an explosion occurred at the Navy School Explosive Ordnance Disposal range," the base said in a brief statement. The base added that both Eglin and Okaloosa County emergency crews responded to the blast, in which only one person was injured. The statement did not identify the individual, but The Navy Times identified the person as a contractor. The Times added, "no students or staff at the school were injured."
It is believed the explosion went off at the D-52 range, one of four demolition training areas at the school. It is unclear as of now if the explosion was tied to an exercise being done, or if it was unrelated. "An investigation into the circumstances surrounding the mishap is underway. More information will be released as it becomes available," the base said. NFW Daily News reported that Walton County emergency responders also were contacted, but then subsequently told the situation was under control.
This is all we know about the bast for now. The base did share a brief message on its Facebook page confirming the incident, which it later updated to add "the individual was airlifted to Fort Walton Beach Medical Center and is in stable condition." Some people commented on that post that they heard a loud boom from the base, and are wondering if it is connected to the incident. "It shook my house in Bluewater Bay. I knew right away it was unusual," one Facebook user commented. It's unclear at the moment if the incident did cause the boom, as many claim. The base has not addressed those allegations. One user, however, commented, "You may have heard the regular explosions that normally come from NAVSCOLEOD, but you didn’t hear this one. It was substantially smaller, but did irreversible damage."