SALT LAKE CITY — The commander of an Army base in Utah, which works on how to protect troops against biological and chemical attacks, said it was on lockdown while trying to resolve a "serious concern."
Military weapons are tested at Dugway Proving Grounds, located about 85 miles southwest of Salt Lake City. Its primary mission is defending troops against biological and chemical attacks.
Colonel William E. King did not provide any details in a statement, but said food and beverages were being brought in.
"As you know measures like these (lockdown of our gates) are not taken lightly," he said, according to KSL.com. "No one is in immediate danger but these steps are required."
The gates would be re-opened "as soon as I can," he added.
Base spokeswoman Bonnie Robinson told The Associated Press early Thursday that officials hoped to have the problem resolved shortly.
The Salt Lake Tribune reported that a lockdown began at 5:24 p.m. MST Wednesday, with no one allowed in or out of the base.
There were about 1,200 to 1,400 people at Dugway at the time.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
Dugway Army base on lockdown January 26th, 2011 @ 10:44pm
By Wendy Leonard
DUGWAY -- The U.S. Army's Dugway Proving Ground was on lockdown Wednesday evening as part of "an ongoing security operation," according to spokeswoman Paula Thomas.
Reports of nearly 1,000 employees stranded at the base, some in their cars, went unconfirmed but Dugway Proving Ground Commander Col. William E. King, IV, said food and beverages were being brought in.
"As you know measures like these (lockdown of our gates) are not taken lightly," he said. "No one is in immediate danger but these steps are required." King said he would open the gates "as soon as I can."
The gates to the facility were closed prior to the 5:30 p.m. shift ending. Workers normally scheduled to go home were not allowed to leave, while those coming into the area were also not let in.
Dugway encompasses more than 800,000 acres of Utah's west desert, where more than 2,000 people call home. It is a government-owned facility used by the U.S. Army Reserves and the U.S. National Guard for maneuver training. It is also a U.S. Army Test and Evaluation Command center where tests are occasionally run on defenses against biological and chemical weaponry.