FORT BLISS, Texas — The U.S. Army believes 11 soldiers who fell ill at Fort Bliss last week drank an industrial compound found in antifreeze, believing it was an alcoholic beverage.
The Army initially didn’t know what the soldiers ingested before they were hospitalized, but later said in a statement that toxicology results indicate they’re experiencing ethylene glycol poisoning.
Officials say the incident occurred on the final day of a 10-day field exercise at the post’s McGregor Range Complex and the soldiers reported with symptoms to the William Beaumont Army Medical Center on Thursday.
As of Friday, all 11 soldiers remained at the medical center. Two were seriously ill and admitted to an intensive care unit. The other nine were in a non-critical care ward, under observation and close lab monitoring.
All 11 of the soldiers are assigned to the 11th Air Defense Artillery Brigade, 32d Army Air and Missile Defense Command, an active-duty unit stationed at Fort Bliss in Texas.
“Our primary concern remains the well-being of our Soldiers, our Families, and the unit. Our teammates are receiving the best medical resources available,” wrote the Army. “Unit and installation chaplains are attending to those in need.”
Officials say the circumstances of how the soldiers ingested the industrial compound are under investigation by the U.S. Army Criminal Investigation Command. However, the Army said there’s no reason to believe there’s any threat to the greater Fort Bliss community.
The Fort Bliss senior commander has also directed an administrative investigation to determine the facts and circumstances that led to the incident. Army and Fort Bliss regulations prohibit the consumption of alcohol in a field training environment.
Fort Bliss is located along the border of Texas and New Mexico. Its headquarters is in El Paso.