GULF SHORES, Ala. (WALA) – Many beach goers witnessed an explosion Wednesday, June 4, near the Gulf State Park Pier.
It was one of two detonations of two different military-grade phosphorous flares that had washed up on to West Beach.
One of the flares was detonated Wednesday morning by military officials, and the second was just detonated around 8:45 p.m. Wednesday night.
The explosions were controlled, and necessary safety precautions, as the phosphorous flares are highly flammable, and burn at an extremely hot temperature. They are designed to even burn underwater.
Comments on social media about the explosion spread quickly, with many people wondering what happened.
Passerby’s on West Beach found the first flare Wednesday morning. They noticed the military warnings and markings posted on the flare, and called police.
Gulf Shores Police then notified the Hurlburt Explosive Ordnance Disposal unit, and military officials moved the flare from West Beach to Gulf State Park Pier.
Officials brought the device to a less populated area of Gulf State Park so they could detonate the device in a safer manner.
Later in the day, around 3 p.m., a group of teens found another device identical to the flare found earlier Wednesday morning, while they were boogie boarding.
“We actually thought it was a message in a bottle, or something like that, so we pick it up, and obviously it wasn’t, and we saw U.S. Navy on it, and so we’re like, okay maybe we should call a non-emergency number, let them know, and then we came here and found out it was more of an explosive,” said Lucy Dunderman, a tourist who spotted the device.
FOX10 asked police how often something like this happens. They said it happens a little more than you would think.
“Just looking over records it may be a once a year occurrence,” said Josh Coleman, with Gulf Shores Police.
Nonetheless, the teens said it was definitely not an ordinary day at the beach.
“It was a big surprise, that you wouldn’t expect on a beach day!” Said Dunderman.