UPDATE: Explosion on Eglin Air Force Base

The Florida Department of Environmental Protection released the cause of the Eglin AFB fire Thursday.

A fire occurred in an air handling unit causing damage to the facility and its cooling system. As a result of the damage to the cooling system, methylene chloride used as a refrigerant, was released. It is estimated that 10,000 gals of methylene chloride was released during the fire and its subsequent response.

EGLIN AIR FORCE BASE, Fla.  (WKRG) — A little before 10 a.m. Wednesday, an explosion occurred at a support building next to McKinley Climatic Lab on Eglin Air Force Base.

Photo Courtesy: Don Harris

A 1,000-foot cordon has been established, and the surrounding area has been evacuated.

The source of the smoke has been identified as methyl chloride. The smoke has now dissipated and is no longer harmful to humans.

No injuries to any base employees have been reported as a result of this incident. The cause of the explosion is under investigation.

According to the EPA’s website on methyl chloride:

In humans, brief exposures to high levels of methyl chloride can have serious effects on the nervous
system, including convulsions, and coma.  Other effects include dizziness, blurred or double vision,
fatigue, personality changes, confusion, tremors, uncoordinated movements, slurred speech, nausea, and
vomiting.  These symptoms develop within a few hours after exposure and may persist for several

Photo Courtesy: Don Harris

For more information and updates visit: www.eglin.af.mil.

According to the lab’s website: 

The McKinley Climatic Laboratory, an AEDC facility located here, has chambers where any climatic environment in the world can be simulated.

The capabilities available at the Climatic Laboratory help engineers ensure maximum reliability and operational capability of complex systems as global operational theaters continue to impose harsh environments.

McKinley Climatic Laboratory
Courtesy: Elgin AFB
McKinley Climatic Laboratory
Courtesy: Elgin AFB


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