Okinawa vending machines back in service
January 24, 2005
CAMP FOSTER, Okinawa — Refrigerated snack vending machines on Okinawa bases were placed back in service here Saturday after they were shut down following an explosion Friday that injured a base employee.
The man, identified only as a Marine Corps Community Services employee, was treated at the U.S. Naval Hospital on Camp Lester after a vending machine inside an MCCS building near the base commissary exploded as he attempted to buy a snack, according to Marine officials.
The door to the machine was blown off and struck the man, who was released from the hospital Friday afternoon.
The incident occurred about 9 a.m. Friday and base police and personnel from the base Explosive Ordnance Department and the Naval Criminal Investigative Service responded and closed the scene for several hours.
Later, the Army and Air Force Exchange Service took all snack machines of the same model out of service while the cause of the explosion was investigated. Contrary to initial reports Friday, only the same model of vending machine was ordered taken out of service; other vending machines were to be operated as normal.
On Saturday, Marine officials gave permission to put the machines back in service.
“Investigators have determined that yesterday’s incident with the dry snack vending machine at Camp Foster was neither an act of terrorism nor a mechanical failure,” Staff Sgt. Suki Forbes said in a press release.
“The incident is still under investigation, however the exact cause has yet to be determined,” she said.
An AAFES spokesman Friday said it was the first case of a vending machine exploding on an Okinawa base.
“The machine involved was a refrigerated candy machine, the same type we use worldwide and have never had any problem with,” said Master Sgt. Donovan Potter at AAFES Pacific Headquarters.