10K Gallons of Methylene Chloride Released During Explosion at Eglin AFB

Photo Courtesy: Cindy Arnett

EGLIN AIR FORCE BASE, Fla. (WKRG) – A new report from the Florida Department of Environmental Protection is shedding new light on the explosion that occurred on Eglin Air Force Base Wednesday.

The explosion happened at the McKinley Climatic Lab, which simulates all weather conditions inside the facility.

According to the new report, the fire occurred in an air handling unit that caused major damage to the facility and its cooling system.

As a result of the damage to the cooling system, it is estimated that 10,000 gallons of methylene chloride were released during the fire. Methylene Chloride is used as a refrigerant and is a colorless liquid with a chloroform-like odor.

The U.S. Department of Labor says methylene chloride is a volatile substance and issued the following guidelines when coming into contact with the chemical:

The predominant means of exposure to methylene chloride is inhalation and skin exposure.

OSHA considers methylene chloride to be a potential occupational carcinogen. Short-term exposures to high concentrations may cause mental confusion, lightheadedness, nausea, vomiting, and headache. Continued exposure may also cause eye and respiratory tract irritation. Exposure to methylene chloride may make symptoms of angina more severe. Skin exposure to liquid methylene chloride may cause irritation or chemical burns.”

No one was seriously injured in the explosion that caused the base to go into a temporary lockdown.

News 5 will continue to follow this story and bring the latest when it becomes available.

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