FREDERICK, Md. - A large plume of smoke from the boiler plant that provides heat at Fort Detrick accidentally was released into the air and spread over nearby residential neighborhoods early Thursday, a base spokesman said.
Chris Devine said there was "nothing dangerous" in the plume of soot in the discharge, which lasted about 15 minutes.
"It was just soot from the boiler and not generally hazardous," Devine said. Residents were told to remove any residue with clean water.
Wind carried the cloud in the direction of Military Road, Rosemont Avenue, Shookstown Road and Baughman's Lane, Devine said.
Devine blamed the incident on "operator error," and said changes were made to ensure it would not occur again.
The boiler provides steam to most of the installation for facility operations. It is not associated with any scientific or biomedical research conducted on the base or incineration or refuse operations, Devine said.