Bunker Explosion Lights Up Louisiana Night

LiveScience.com

A loud boom and a bright orange flash that shook up a pocket of northwest Louisiana last night (Oct. 15) was due to an underground explosion at the Camp Minden industrial park and National Guard training site, according to the Webster Parish Sheriff's Office.

Despite early reports that the boom may have been caused by a meteor impact, the real cause was an explosion in an underground bunker belonging to a company called Explo, Webster Parish authorities told Life's Little Mysteries.

No one was injured in the blast.

According to the company's website, Explo Systems Inc. demilitarizes and recovers explosives. The Associated Press says Explo does its bomb-recycling work on a military contract.

In August 2006, the Associated Press reported the same company was responsible for a series of explosions that led to the evacuation of two schools and a prison near Camp Minden, which is the former site of the federally owned Louisiana Army Ammunition Plant and is currently overseen by Louisiana's National Guard.

Last night's explosion, which lit up the sky over Camp Minden just before 11:30 p.m. local time, prompted reports from Shreveport, La., 20 miles (32 kilometers) away, according to Shreveport's KSLA website. The Webster Parish Sheriff's Office told Life's Little Mysteries the explosion also was reported by residents of east Texas.

Early speculation from Webster Parish Sheriff Gary Sexton, who told KSLA there was a "possibility that a meteor did hit the ground," may have had some basis. The Orionid meteor shower, an annual shower that has been especially vigorous in recent years, started yesterday and is likely to peak this weekend. Falling meteors are known to cause sonic booms audible on the ground.

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