Authorities confirm 'Atmospheric phenomenon' as bunker explosion
Officials have confirmed the "atmospheric phenomenon" felt and heard by local residents Monday night was actually a bunker explosion at Explo Systems at Camp Minden.
A news conference, scheduled for 9 a.m. today was rescheduled for 11 (post press-time), when Camp Minden officials reportedly decided to allow Explo to handle its own dissemination of information.
According to reports, the bunker is designed to explode vertically.
"The bunker did exactly what it was designed to do," said Webster Parish Sheriff's Chief Deputy Bobby Igo, Jr. "There were no injuries – nobody hurt. We don't know the cause at this point."
Explo Systems, which opened its site in 2006, has a military contract to disassemble bombs and recycle bomb components.
Jeff Hood, meteorologist with the National Weather Service, said radar imagery showed what appeared to be a smoke plume.
"We captured that on our radar at 11:28 p.m. until about 12:06 a.m. last night about a mile and half south west of Dixie Inn," Hood said. "It showed it was likely coming from the ground up – what was interesting is it started out nearly 7,000 feet vertically top to bottom and as it drifted to the northwest, with light winds it slowly decreased and diminished which would indicate that it dispersed with time."
Local fire departments, as well as officials from Homeland Security, Minden Police, Louisiana State Police Troop G and Webster Parish Sheriff's Office responded. Minden Police secured downtown businesses where some windows were shattered. No other reports of damage were confirmed as of press-time.
The explosion was reportedly felt and heard in Webster and Bossier parishes, as well as some parts of east Texas.
Jeri Bloxom, Bruce Franklin and Bonnie Culverhouse contributed to this report.