Sailor Seriously Hurt, 7 Others Hurt in NJ Naval Weapons Station Explosion

An explosion at a New Jersey naval weapons station this morning left eight U.S. Navy personnel and civilians hurt, one seriously.

Crews rushed to a boat house at the Naval Weapons Station Earle in Colts Neck Township, Monmouth County, N.J. around 9 a.m.

Crews were doing routine maintenance on a 27-foot aluminum utility boat when the blast occurred, according to Navy officials.

One sailor was hospitalized with non-life-threatening but serious injuries, said Navy spokeswoman Beth Baker.

"He was conscious and speaking" before being taken to a hospital, Baker said.

Seven others -- a mix of sailors and workers -- suffered what the Navy described as "minor injuries" resulting mostly from smoke inhalation and were taken to the hospital for evaluation. The Navy was withholding their names until relatives could be notified. Tuesday afternoon, seven of the victims were released while one still remains in the hospital.

SkyForce10 video captured a firetruck and ambulances outside of a warehouse-like building. A section of roof appeared to be damaged.

The Navy said the damage was contained to the boat house and "ammunition and ordnance operations at the weapons station were not affected by the accident," said the Navy.

The cause of the blast remains under investigation.

The Mainside section of the facility where the blast appeared to occur is located about eight miles west of Asbury Park and 76 miles from Philadelphia. A long road connects that section to the Waterfront Pier that extends about 2.5 miles into Raritan Bay, according to the Commander, Navy Installations Command.

The facility, which is home to more than 20 tenant commands -- the largest at a navy munitions base -- employs more than 1,500 contractors, civilians and military personnel, according to CNIC. The station provides weapons for all Atlantic Fleet Carrier and Expeditionary Strike Groups, according to the Navy.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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