8 injured in explosion at Jersey Shore naval facility

Eight people were hurt, including one seriously, after an explosion at a U.S. Navy weapons station in Monmouth County, New Jersey, on Tuesday morning, a Navy spokesperson said.

The explosion occurred around 9 a.m. local time in the course of routine maintenance on a utility boat at Naval Weapons Station Earle, according to Navy spokeswoman Beth Baker.

“The damage from the explosion was contained within the boathouse area,” Baker said in a release on Tuesday. “Ammunition and ordnance operations at the weapons station were not affected by the accident.”

One person was hospitalized; the others were treated for minor injuries related to smoke inhalation and released, Baker said in the release. The names of the injured personnel, who were all taken to local hospitals, were not released pending the identification of their families. It was not immediately clear if the injured people were civilians or military personnel.

“The cause of the explosion is under investigation,” Baker said.

The explosion drew fire trucks, an emergency helicopter, and ambulances to the station, Reuters reported. The facility employs about 1,500 personnel, including civilian and military workers, according to the U.S. Navy’s website, and has a pier that extends 2.5 miles into Raritan Bay.

Area resident Ada McCrady said she heard a “loud explosion-type sound” while she was out walking her dog at the time, according to local newspaper the Asbury Park Press, but said she could not see anything.