Military officials this afternoon called a deadly explosion at the Army Ammunition Plant in Middletown an accident. Allen Marshall, a spokesman with the Joint Munitions Command, says it happened minutes after ten Monday morning. He says it caused extensive damage to two buildings on the line and two people missing in the explosion are presumed dead.
The two missing today were the only people scheduled to be working in that part of the plant at the time. The families of the people missing have been notified, but Marshall can’t say how long it will take to make a positive I.D. of what remains they can find after the explosion. The two were employees of American Ordnance, a contractor that’s doing much of the work at the plant. That contractor reportedly has 800 people currently working at the plant.
Marshall can’t say how many people were working at the plant at the time, and says they operate there different shifts. The plant, which is more than 19-thousand square feet in size, has five production lines in all. Line One was heavily damaged in the explosion Monday morning.
Operations are going on, he says, except in the area affected by the explosion. American Ordnance reportedly won a fifteen-Million-dollar contract this spring to produce howitzer ammunition at the plant, and is also reportedly producing armor and tank ammo.
Marshall says a thorough investigation will be done, and the Joint Munitions Command will be joined by members of the Army Combat Readiness Center, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, and specialists from the Joint Munitions Command who are likely to spend months to determine the cause of the accident.