Texas is home to 15 active-duty military bases. And while most of the time they pose no danger to surrounding civilian areas, every once in a while something can go wrong – like a plane crash, for example.
Last month, a military jet crashed into a residential neighborhood in the Fort Worth area. Both of the plane’s pilots and several people on the ground were injured. Even though there were no fatalities it was a stark reminder of the dangers of putting dense neighborhoods too close to military installations.
An investigation by the Fort Worth Star Telegram’s Emily Brindley found that the Lake Worth neighborhood where the crash happened has been considered potentially hazardous by the Department of Defense’s Air Installation Compatible Use Zone program since the 1970s. The program recommends that residential buildings not be built within a certain proximity to military installations, and beyond that houses should be spaced further apart.
But most residents near the Naval Air Station Joint Reserve Base Fort Worth had no idea their neighborhood was considered high risk.
“When I talked to residents of that of the neighborhood, a lot of them told me that they did not know that it was a crash zone, and in our conversation, that was the first time that they’d heard of it,” Brindely told Texas Standard. “That’s because nobody is responsible for telling residents, either future residents or existing residents, about the crash zones and the safety risks.”
Listen to the full interview with Brindley in the audio player above.