Eleven soldiers from Fort Bliss were hospitalized Thursday after ingesting antifreeze at the conclusion of a 10-day field exercise at the McGregor Range Complex.
One warrant officer, two noncommissioned officers, and eight enlisted members remained hospitalized at William Beaumont Army Medical Center on Friday night when Fort Bliss issued an updated press release.
Two soldiers are still in the ICU, but all had improved in condition over the previous 24 hours, including one who was extubated, according to a statement made by Col. Shawna Scully, deputy commander of the medical center.
Although the poison was originally reported as simply an unknown substance, toxicology reports later identified it as ethylene glycol, the active ingredient in antifreeze.
“Initial reports indicate the soldiers consumed this substance thinking they were drinking an alcoholic beverage,” the press release said.
Antifreeze poisoning can cause a feeling of intoxication, followed by kidney, lung, brain, and nervous system disfunction as well as permanent organ damage.
The soldiers are all active duty and stationed at Fort Bliss, Texas, assigned to the 11th Air Defense Artillery Brigade, 32nd Army Air and Missile Defense Command.
The incident is being investigated by the US Army Criminal Investigation Command, and the press release noted that soldiers may not imbibe alcohol on duty or during training exercises. According to the press release, however, the Army’s first priority is “the well-being of our Soldiers, our Families, and the unit.”