Scientists return to Salty Brine beach in hopes of solving mysterious blast

"I've never heard of anything like this happening anywhere in the world," Chief Jim Ball of Rhode Island's DEM said.

(Photo: Corey Welch/WPRI)

NARRANGASETT, R.I. (WPRI) — Local and federal scientists returned to Salty Brine beach, hoping to find clues as to what caused the blast that injured a Connecticut woman.

Part of the beach along the jetty where a 60-year-old woman was injured was closed again Monday, so that scientists could keep digging in that area. It was the second day scientists from the University of Rhode Island the federal government returned to collect soil samples.

“I don’t understand, but it’s really interesting watching this,” beach patron Karen DiLorenzo said.

(Photo: Corey Welch/WPRI)
(Photo: Corey Welch/WPRI)

Chief Jim Ball of Rhode Island’s Department of Environment Management Emergency Response said the mystery blast is a very rare occurrence.

“I’ve never heard of anything like this happening anywhere in the world,” Ball said.

Representatives from Rhode Island’s DEM said they have checked the air quality and deemed it safe. They are also digging for more soil to check for organic matter, which produces hydrogen sulfate gas, methane gas or hydrogen gas, all elements that could lead to an explosion.

(Photo: Corey Welch/WPRI)
(Photo: Corey Welch/WPRI)

“So those are the things that we’re hoping to see here or maybe not see here,” Ball continued.

Meanwhile, at Narragansett’s Town Council meeting, Police Chief Dean Hoxie updated the public for the first time.

“I think it’s helpful for them to hear from myself or any other member of the officials from the town,” Chief Hoxie said.

According to Chief Jim Ball, they only have a finite amount of time at the beach because once the tide comes back in, scientists will either move back on shore or shut down the operation.

(Photo: Corey Welch/WPRI)
(Photo: Corey Welch/WPRI)

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