9 Marines Treated for Exposure to Battery Fumes at Quantico

A VH-60 helicopter belonging to Marine Helicopter Squadron One in Quantico, Virginia appears in a hangar in 2014. (Marine Corps photo)
A VH-60 helicopter belonging to Marine Helicopter Squadron One in Quantico, Virginia appears in a hangar in 2014. (Marine Corps photo)

Two Marines were flown to a Virginia hospital and seven others transported by vehicle to a second nearby medical facility after a battery inside a hangar started smoking Monday, leading to concerns about exposure to toxic chemicals.

All nine Marines were released from the two hospitals in Fairfax and Stafford, near Marine Corps Base Quantico, by late afternoon Monday, Capt. Kurt Kunze, a spokesman for the base, said. The personnel are all assigned to Marine Corps Air Facility Quantico.

The Free Lance-Star of Fredericksburg, Virginia first reported the incident Monday.

A large, external battery that plugs into the side of aircraft to power electrical systems first began smoking at about 11:10 a.m. It was moved outside and determined that the Marines should be checked out for possible fume inhalation.

"It ended up thankfully being just a very minor incident," Kunze said. "Our security battalion, fire department and first responders responded very quickly and efficiently."

The two Marines who were transported by air had been closest to the battery at the time it began smoking, Kunze said. Safety and hazardous material personnel later disposed of the battery.

The nine Marines' names, ranks, units and military occupational specialties were not immediately available, Kunze added. The airfield, also known as Turner Field, is home to Marine Helicopter Squadron One, which flies the president. The squadron operates a VH-3D Sea King, VH-60N White Hawk and MV-22B Osprey.

-- Gina Harkins can be reached at gina.harkins@military.com. Follow her on Twitter at @ginaaharkins.

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