A bomb incident at HARB resulted in evacuations at the base and shelter-in-place orders to area residents.

A bomb incident at HARB resulted in evacuations at the base and shelter-in-place orders to area residents. 

On December 15, at approximately 5 PM, an incident occurred on Homestead Air Reserve Base (HARB) which resulted in evacuation of the Base, and with the assistance of Homestead and Miami Dade Police Departments, the closure of a number of roads.

In addition residents of a number of off base neighborhoods were instructed to remain indoors.

The next day the Public Affairs Office (PAO) of the 482nd Fighter Wing issued a media release which identified the incident as a “transportation mishap” which resulted in damage to an item of explosive ordnance.

The release further stated that no one was injured and that the damaged ordnance was “rendered safe” by the 482nd Explosive Ordnance Disposal (EOD) Detachment by the morning of December 16. In EOD terms, rendered safe usually means that the ordnance was destroyed in a controlled explosion.

HARB’s media release also stated that additional information would be released as the investigation of the incident progressed.

When no additional information was released by the last week of December the News Leader reached out to request an interview with COL David Castaneda, the Commander of the 482nd Fighter Wing and HARB on the incident.

The PAO asked that questions be initially submitted by email and that a decision on an interview would be forthcoming.

This week we received emailed responses to our initial questions and to several follow up questions from Tyler Grimes, Chief, Public Affairs.

Our first question was to ask for more details on the incident to include what type of munition was involved. Mr. Grimes response was “This incident is currently under investigation, but there were no aircraft involved.  It involved a ground vehicle transportation incident. Once the full investigation is complete, we will release further information.”

In response to questions about the investigation of the incident, a timeline for completion, and if any outside agencies such as the Air Force Safety Center were involved Grimes provided the following, “The investigation is being conducted by several internal agencies and authorities. We are reviewing all aspects of the incident to determine the cause. This will also let us know what adjustments are needed to improve the safety and security of our operations.”

When asked for more details the response was, “Additionally, HARB has experienced professionals working on the investigations to ensure safety measures and procedures are in place and are followed to avoid this type of incident in the future. The investigations are in the early stage and it would be premature to project timelines.”

Lastly, when asked if our interview request had been turned down Mr. Grimes emailed, “We are happy to answer as many questions as we can. This incident involves many different subject matter experts and in order to provide specific answers to these questions, we have to staff them with the right agencies.”

In the media release on Dec. 16th, COL Castaneda was quoted, ““I want to thank our outstanding EOD professionals and first responders for their great work last night. I’d also like to thank our local law enforcement for their support in keeping our local community safe. My top priority is the success of our mission and the safety of our HARB personnel and the local community.”

Given the safety implications, the inconveniencing of thousands of Homestead residents, the diversion of police resources and the disruption to the real world missions of Special Operations Command South, the 125th Fighter Wings Alert Detachment, and Customs and Border Protection, the News Leader will continue to pursue this important story.

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