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Military investigating contractor killed by fire supression foam
EGLIN AFB -- In early January a man was killed in an accident that took place on Eglin Air Force Base in King Hanger, the largest building on Eglin Air Force Base.
A fire suppression system that sprays a foam onto the floor, similar to what you see in this YouTube video, went off unintentionally.
A similar accident took place in 2012, where no one was injured.
But despite safety measures with that incident in mind, three men were hurt in addition to one fatality.
Today, Eglin officials spoke for the first time about what happened that day.
Channel Three's Rob Brown has more.
On January 8th, the fire suppression system in King Hanger on Eglin Air Force Base went off, dumping enough foam to cover an F-15. One contractor was killed in that accident. On Tuesday, Eglin officials released their first report on what went wrong.
Major General Arnold Bunch Jr. "It's a tragic loss for us as a team, Team Eglin, and the Air Force Test Center team as well as myself."
The report says freezing temperatures in early January caused a pipe in the sprinkler system to bust.
Major General Arnold Bunch Jr. "The cold temperatures over the sixth and the seventh staying below freezing for the majority of the time froze water in the pipes, causing a valve to burst, causing the fire suppression system to sense water flow."
Water began flowing and the system reacted like a fire started.
It began pumping foam as shown in this YouTube video taken in 2009.
After an alarm was sounded, the building was evacuated, and military investigators say all personnel were accounted for outside.
The report shows all safety measures were followed.
Major General Arnold Bunch Jr. "The fire suppression systems functioned as designed, and we got 100% accountability of all the people outside of the facility, and they were all safe."
Despite being declared off limits, thirty-one-year-old, Jonathan Lord, and three other contractors made way their way back inside through a connecting building.
Major General Arnold Bunch Jr. "They went up and observed, BUTT TO They entered into an elevator on the third floor, and they pushed the button to go to the first floor. When they got to the first floor and the doors opened, they were immediately engulfed in the foam as it rushed into the elevator."
Two men were able to find their way out, while another created an air pocket in the foam to breathe until a rescue crew could reach him.
Jonathon Lord, however, was found over an hour later, dead.
Military investigators say they're waiting on final autopsy results to determine the actual cause of death, but they believe the foam was the cause of death.
Eglin says the system worked exactly as it was supposed to, even if it was triggered by a false alarm.
Eglin officials say that fire suppression system will remain off, until their investigation is completed and any necessary upgrades are made. In Okaloosa County, Rob Brown, Channel Three News."
Military officials say that the investigation into the incident is ongoing, and any changes needed to prevent future accidents will be made.