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New Jersey Navy station explosion leaves 8 hurt

Authorities are on the scene of an explosion and fire at the Naval Weapons Station Earle in Middletown, New Jersey, Tuesday morning.
August 21, 2013 4:06:41 AM PDT
At least eight sailors were injured after an explosion and fire at the Naval Weapons Station Earle in Middletown, New Jersey, Tuesday morning.

Naval officials confirm that some kind of explosion happened during maintenance work on a 35-foot utility vessel in one of the buildings along the waterfront around 9 a.m.

It appears some kind of welding accident took place inside one of the buildings on the site. The blast blew a hole through the roof of the building.

Officials say one person was seriously hurt, while seven others suffered non-life threatening injuries, primarily smoke inhalation. The damage from the explosion was contained within the boathouse area, and the situation is stabilized.

Ammunition and ordnance operations at the weapons station were not affected by the accident.

"It was nowhere near any of the ordinance operations or any ammunition that was moving," base Commander John Dunne said. "There was none of that, so this was a self-contained event...I don't know the extent of what they were doing, but I would say that anytime you can walk away, you're doing well when you have a mishap like this."

The identities of the injured personnel are being withheld until family members have been notified.

According to its website, the Naval station mainside is located in Colts Neck, and the Waterfront is in the Leonardo section of Middletown. The two areas are connected by a private, federally-owned roadway. Colts Neck sits in the heart of New Jersey's horse farming region and is only 20 minutes away from the famed Jersey Shore. Leonardo is located on Sandy Hook Bay overlooking the Atlantic Ocean and the New York skyline.

The cause of the explosion is under investigation.

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