Popping Bubble Wrap Sends Air Force Base Into Lockdown

A civilian employee dialed 911 after hearing three loud bangs.

Popping bubble wrap sent an entire Air Force base in New Mexico into lockdown after an employee mistook the sounds for gunfire.

A civilian employee dialed 911 after hearing three loud bangs at Kirtland Air Force Base in Albuquerque at 2:30 p.m. Wednesday, according to multiple reports.

Base chiefs feared an active shooter was on the loose, KOB4 reported.

The incident took place just after two shooters stormed a party at a social services facility in San Bernardino, California, slaughtering 14 people and wounding another 21.


The Air Force base, its Veterans Affairs hospital and three elementary schools were all placed on lockdown until 3:15 p.m.

The lockdown was lifted, however, when security forces "could not substantiate the claims of gunfire," according to a statement obtained by TV station KOB4.

Someone had become spooked by the bubble wrap bangs and thought it was a weapon being discharged, Master Sgt. Phyllis Keith told KOAT.

The loud noise was caused by another civilian employee stepping on "heavy-duty" bubble wrap that had "sandwich bag-size air pockets," base spokesman Eric Elliott told The Albuquerque Journal.

Despite the inconvenience of the lockdown, Elliott added it was important to be precautionary -- and said, "We got a good exercise out of it."

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