Explosion of National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) Building 236, July 18, 2015

Explosion of National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) Building 236, July 18, 2015

Background

On July 23, 2015, CBS News published the following:

An explosion inside a federal laboratory in Maryland appears to be connected to a security officer’s small-scale efforts to manufacture methamphetamine, according to a federal law enforcement official.

Authorities who responded to the explosion Saturday night on the campus of the National Institute of Standards and Technology recovered pseudoephedrine, Epsom salt and other materials associated with the manufacture of meth, said the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity because potential charges are pending.

The materials indicate production of small batches of meth, the official said.

The chemical reaction might have been caused by the manufacturing of drugs, Montgomery County police spokesman Capt. Paul Starks said. Police said that they are investigating the case jointly with the Drug Enforcement Administration and that no charges have yet been filed.

Laura Harris, a spokeswoman for the DEA’s Washington, division, confirmed the ongoing investigation Tuesday but declined to comment further.

NIST spokeswoman Gail Porter said the explosion occurred in Building 236 on the institute’s campus. The portion of the building where the explosion happened is not currently used for scientific research, she said, and previously was used for combustion research.

The NIST officer was treated at a hospital and released after suffering injuries in the explosion, and he resigned from his job, Porter said.

I learned that a FOIA Requester asked for all emails containing the number string “236” but was denied access due to the fact that it was an ongoing investigation. So, in April of 2017, I re-requested those records, since the investigation has since closed.

In June of 2017, they were reviewed and declassified, and are now available below.

Declassified Documents

 Explosion of National Institute of Standards and Technology (NIST) Building 236 [237 Pages, 71MB]

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