ARNOLD AIR FORCE BASE, Tenn. – About an hour southeast of Murfreesboro, workers at Arnold AFB discovered a powdered bromine leak during a facility walk down of the Turbine Engine Cooling Towers this past Friday (7/23/2021) evening.
Some of the powdered bromine compound mixed with the humid air and gasified, creating a gaseous plume. A cordon was established and nearby buildings evacuated. No employees reported bromine exposure symptoms.
The hopper holding the compound later ruptured, releasing more of the chemical.
As a precaution, emergency personnel closed Wattendorf Memorial Highway, which later re-opened at 10:30, Friday night. Utility operators returned to their work stations when the area re-opened.
As of approximately 7 p.m. Saturday night, the air quality in nearby buildings had returned to normal and base entry resumed as usual.
According to the Centers for Disease Control, “breathing bromine gas could cause you to cough, have trouble breathing, get a headache, have irritation of your mucous membranes (inside your mouth, nose, etc.), be dizzy, or have watery eyes.”
The area continues to be closely monitored and necessary precautions are being taken.