Emergency crews are responding to an explosion that took place at Florida’s Eglin Air Force Base. There is no word on potential injuries at this time. The cause of the explosion is under investigation.
The base has implemented a shelter in place order between Eglin Boulevard to Van Matre as a precautionary safety measure. In a tweet, Eglin has instructed residents of the area to turn their HVAC system off.
The explosion took place at McKinley Climatic Lab shortly before 10:00 A.M. EST.
“The source of the smoke has been identified as methyl chloride. Avoid contact with the smoke if possible,” said Ilka Cole, public affairs specialist for Eglin Air Force Base.
The Okaloosa County Sheriff’s Office (OCSO) said in a Facebook post that the surrounding area has been evacuated and a 1,000 foot cordon has been set up.
UPDATE: The shelter in place has since been lifted but authorities are still advising residents to avoid contact with the potentially harmful smoke. People exposed to methyl chloride can suffer from neurological effects, according to the Environmental Protection Agency. It can also affect a person’s heart rate, blood pressure, liver and kidneys.
According to the base’s Twitter account, no injuries have been reported as of yet.
Eglin Air Force Base
Eglin Air Force Base is a United States Air Force base located approximately 3 miles southwest of Valparaiso, Florida in Okaloosa County. The host unit at Eglin is the 96th Test Wing. It was built in 1935 and has been actively used ever since.