One airlifted to hospital after EOD explosion on Eglin Air Force Base; officials investigating

Sierra Rains Jim Thompson
Northwest Florida Daily News

EGLIN AFB — One person was injured in a Friday morning explosion on a portion of the sprawling Eglin Air Force Base range used by the Naval School Explosive Ordinance Disposal (NAVSCOLEOD), which is headquartered near Niceville.

The injured person was airlifted to Fort Walton Beach Medical Center and was listed in stable condition as of midafternoon Friday, according to Eglin spokeswoman Jasmine Porterfield. According to the Friday report in Navy Times, an independent newspaper covering the U.S. Navy, the unidentified individual was a contractor whose injuries were not life-threatening. 

The explosion happened about 9:45 a.m. at the C-52 North Range used by NAVSCOLEOD, which is some distance away from its facilities at 8840 Range Road. The explosion was not part of any training exercise at the school at the time, according to Porterfield, who added that there was no structural damage connected with the blast.

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Emergency crews from Eglin and Okaloosa County responded to the incident, according to a brief news release issued by the base. Walton County emergency responders also were contacted in connection with the explosion, but were subsequently told by Eglin officials that the situation was under control, according to Corey Dobridnia, public information officer for the Walton County Sheriff's Office. 

A Friday afternoon telephone call to NAVSCOLEOD seeking additional information on the incident was not answered. 

According to the Eglin news release, an investigation into the circumstances surrounding the incident is underway. Porterfield said early Friday afternoon that additional information on the explosion will be released as it becomes available.