Americas News

Investigation underway After Explosion at Eglin Air Force Base Research Lab

Officials are investigating the cause of an explosion at the McKinley Climatic Lab at Eglin Air Force Base in Florida

Officials are investigating the cause of an explosion at a scientific research lab at Eglin Air Force Base in Florida.

The explosion was reported just after 11 a.m. local time (17:00 GMT) at the McKinley Climatic Lab, prompting concerns the smoke could contain methyl chloride also known as chloromethane.

Initial investigations concluded the smoke contained no methyl chloride.

According to the US Environmental Protection Agency, acute exposure to high concentrations of methyl chloride in humans has caused severe neurological effects.

The Pulse Gulf Coast explained: “Exposure to methyl chloride, also known as chloromethane, can produce central nervous system effects similar to drug intoxication, including drowsiness, dizziness, or confusion and difficulty with breathing, walking, or speaking.”

Smoke plume after explosion at Elgin Airforce Base captured on radar. Image: Grasswire/Radarscope

Residents on the base, and at nearby Niceville and Valparaiso were asked to shelter in place as a safety precaution. A tweet from the Eglin base’s official account asked residents to turn off their air conditioning systems.

The surrounding area was evacuated and a “1,000-foot cordon has been established,” according to the Okaloosa County Sheriff’s Office.

The cause of the explosion remains under investigation.

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