An errant 155mm artillery shell fired by a Missouri Army National Guard unit training at Fort Chaffee Maneuver Training Center left the installation and landed less than 500 feet from a residence in Franklin County on Thursday afternoon.
The 1st Battalion, 129th Field Artillery Regiment of Maryville, Mo., was conducting a live-fire exercise as part of annual training when the incident occurred.
Local officials have not reported any injuries as a result of the incident, according to a news release from the Arkansas National Guard. However, the impact just east of Rattlesnake Canyon Road damaged a home and garage.
Maj. Matt Snead, Arkansas National Guard public affairs officer, said a Franklin County resident contacted the Guard some time between 2 p.m. and 3 p.m. Thursday to report a possible artillery round fired off the post, based on an explosion he heard.
A team was sent out to look for a crater in the area, but didn’t locate one.
Snead said officials at Chaffee were then contacted by the Franklin County Sheriff’s Office about 6 p.m. to report a woman arrived at her home and found it and her garage damaged — by what turned out to be shrapnel from the artillery round.
"I am relieved no one was injured," said Col. Ron Brazell, Fort Chaffee commander, in a news release. "Here at Fort Chaffee, safety is at the core of everything we do; as Arkansans who live and work in the surrounding communities, we are very passionate about ensuring this type of incident never happens again."
The unit was ordered to halt training, and the incident is under investigation by officials from Fort Chaffee, the Arkansas National Guard and the Missouri National Guard.
Snead said the Arkansas National Guard investigation is focused on the Chaffee range policy, whether proper procedure was followed and what can be done to prevent a future occurrence.
The Missouri National Guard will investigate what went wrong on its end, Snead said. The Arkansas Guard doesn’t have the authority to investigate a unit from another state.
Snead said the homeowner will obviously be compensated by the government; it’s just a question of which pot the money will come from, something to be determined after the investigations.