© Kristi Johnston/The Times
Webster Parish sheriff's deputies set up on scene on Elmo Burton Loop this morning in search of what caused the ground to shake across northwest Louisiana late Monday night.
Northwest Louisiana authorities are investigating the source of whatever shook people's residences and businesses about 11:40 p.m. Monday. The Webster sheriff's office now is entertaining the possibility that it may have been a meteorite, possibly in the Dixie Inn area. There have been a large number of reports stating that they saw something come down instead of something blow up
, a spokesman said.
And a woman reported hearing what sounded like debris hit a shop on Bellevue Road in the Dixie Inn area. If it was a meteorite, that would fall to NASA and the Air Force to investigate. A spokeswoman for Barksdale Air Force Base public affairs said that the installation is investigating and that whatever the source, it didn't originate at the base.
Webster authorities still don't know what it was or where it hit, Sheriff Gary Sexton just said. Thermal-imaging cameras showed nothing off Elmo Burton Loop near Dixie Inn, but helicopters are expected to be in the air this morning to survey the area along U.S. 80 and Interstate 20 for the cause of what caused the ground to shake.
Reports of the shaking came in from Lake Bistineau, Springhill, Sibley and Barksdale Air Force Base.
Sexton earlier said he was driving in the Springhill-Cullen area when he saw two flashes from the south. One report says it shook the Webster Courthouse in Minden.
A resident of the Lake Bistineau area reports that it almost shook their house off its foundation
A number of reports of a loud boom, shaking, rattling and possible damage -- including broken windows
-- in the area west and northwest of Minden have been coming into the National Weather Service office in Shreveport. "I don't have any idea what it was," Mark Murphy said. "A lot of calls have mentioned all kinds of scenarios, but I don't know for sure anything."
No earthquake is being reported in this area, according to the U.S. Geological Survey's real-time earthquake map.
And a Calumet spokesman says windows shook in the Cypress Lake area, north Bossier Parish and western Webster Parish and that the source is not the company's facility in Cotton Valley nor is it the Princeton location.
Here are some other observations as noted by excerpts from Facebook postings:
I felt that all the way over here on Ellerbe Road!!!
Elaina McKissack Pepper:
... No damage but me and Zeb both got up and started checking on the kids because we were sure something was very wrong. After checking outside, Zeb gave up. It shook our whole house kind of like an earthquake.
Karri Vaughan Smith:
Scared me to death ... !!!
Lela Bryan Lemoine:
In Minden, felt like our house was hit by something. Didn't really hear anything though. But scared the heck out of us!
Angela Bogues Davis:
We live on Fort Ave. I was upstairs and our house shook and swayed.
Judy Savell Jackson:
... I heard and felt it at my house, but so did everyone else in Minden and surrounding areas!
Mickie Howard Young:
I felt the explosion here in S. Sibley, I thought it was the pipeline at first. Shook the entire house, but we have no damage. Just a heart that nearly jumped out of my chest.
Damage control has swung into operation:
Webster S.O. confirms bunker explosion at Camp Minden
Webster Parish, Louisiana (KSLA) - Webster Parish Sheriff Gary Sexton says hazmat experts tell him the underground bunker containing explosives that blew up late Monday night at Camp Minden worked exactly as it was designed to do.
Sexton describes the bunker, in the "L-1 area," as an "igloo," constructed of concrete. He says they were built in the 50s. The underground bunkers are designed to send any blast up instead of out to lessen the shock wave impact. No one was injured.
The force of the explosion was felt across a wide area just before 11:40 p.m. Monday, with reports of people feeling the blast from Minden to Shreveport and well beyond. The explosion site was discovered right at sun-up.
The National Weather Service later issued a statement describing radar imagery showing a debris/smoke plume right around 11:30 p.m. approximately one and one half miles southwest of Dixie Inn, which is where the Camp Minden Louisiana Army Ammunition Plant is located. The NWS says the debris plume drifted northwest at about 10 miles per hour and dissipated after about 30 minutes.
Webster Chief Deputy Bobby Igo says the bunker belongs to a company called Explo Systems, Inc. A news conference was scheduled for 9 a.m. to be held by officials from Explo was pushed to 11 a.m., but that was canceled at the last minute with no explanation given.
When reached by phone, Explo Chief Operations Officer Terri Wright would only say he had no comment. Neither Explo nor authorities have said yet what kind of explosives were stored in the bunker.
State Police, the Webster Parish Sheriff's Office and the military will investigate exactly what caused the explosion.
Webster Sheriff Gary Sexton says there are numerous reports of collateral damage, mostly consisting of broken windows. But he says there has been some structural damage.
Earlier in the morning, Sexton said there was a "possibility that a meteor did hit the ground" in the area, but that theory was put to rest with the confirmation of the blast at the Camp Minden bunker.
The event resulted in a flood of phone calls to the Webster Parish Sheriff's Office, as well as to the KSLA News 12 newsroom.
KSLA News 12 viewer Shana Levick tells us she was driving on I-20 by Dixie Inn when she saw the sky light up a bright orange color. She said she could see what appeared to be small fire sparks above the tree lines.
Callers are also reporting seeing a bright light flash in the sky when they heard the boom.
Well now, this is interesting. Initially reported as being a possible meteor strike, we're now hearing that this explosion in Louisiana was the result of a planned explosion at an old underground bunker at 11.30pm on a Monday night. If that was really so, why did buildings in nearby downtown Minden sustain blast damage? Once again
, U.S. authorities are spinning as fast as they can to cover up for the cosmic threat.
© Minden Press Herald
The U.S. government isn't alone, however. Just last week a massive explosion
caused a mushroom cloud in southern Russia. It was blamed on an accident, "probably caused by a lit cigarette" (yeah right!), as some 4,000 tonnes of soon-to-be decommissioned munitions were supposedly being unloaded from a train at a remote military base. Injuries were initially reported but then this was retracted, leaving no on-site injuries where surely there should have been at least a few, especially given that windows were shattered on buildings in towns located up to 40 km away.
We had been wondering whether or not this Russian "munitions accident" was covering up for an overhead airburst caused by an incoming meteor or cometary fragment ... and now something rather similar has happened in southern U.S. one week later!
Local news station is now reporting that a debris cloud was picked up on radar images. One eyewitness also reported 'meteor ash' falling to the ground ...
Camp Minden 'Debris Plume' photo: