Emergency crews have converged on the Naval Weapons Station Earle in Colts Neck Township, New Jersey. An explosion hit the base around 9 a.m. Eastern. News choppers have captured footage of ambulances and a fire truck outside one of the buildings at the base. Some media are reporting that a Medevac helicopter was also dispatched to the base.
At least eight injured in the explosion
NBC Philadelphia reports that the building appears to be a warehouse. Part of the building’s roof seems to be damaged. ABC Local is reporting that so far eight injuries have been confirmed in the explosion. One of them was said to be seriously injured, while the other injuries were not life threatening. Most of the minor injuries were said to be smoke inhalation. The television station also reports that the explosion took place while workers were doing maintenance on one of the ships that was moored at the base’s waterfront.
There’s speculation that it was the result of either a welding accident or a propane tank explosion. However, the official cause is still under investigation. Navy officials say the ammunition and ordnance operations at the naval base were not affected by the explosion. They also said the fire has been contained and brought under control.
The facility where the explosion occurred houses over 20 tenant commands. The waterfront area of the base where the explosion occurred lies in Middletown’s Leonardo section, according to media reports. Leonardo sits on the Sandy Hook Bay on the Atlantic Ocean and overlooking the skyline of New York City.
It is separated from another main area of the base—the Naval station mainside—in Colts Neck by a private road owned by the federal government. CNBC reports that it’s the biggest at any navy munitions base. More than 1,500 contractors, civilians and military personnel work at the base.