Paranoia over a U.S. military training exercise scheduled to take place in several southern states this summer spread Tuesday to Flint, Michigan, where residents got their backs up over a separate training exercise taking place in a condemned building.
Local TV station WNEM reported that at about 2 p.m. local time Tuesday afternoon residents were shaken by a series of explosions coming from the building, which formerly housed a junior high school.
The city of Flint had issued a notice informing the public of the training just hours before, at about 11:30 a.m. local time, according to the news station. Flint Police Chief James Tolbert told WNEM that the public was given such short notice because the military had unexpectedly moved up the timetable for the exercise.
“I can’t speak for the Army on that, but we try to give people a heads up when we can,” a spokesman for the city, Jason Lorenz, told WNEM. “We can’t go into too much detail, we don’t want people just coming to these things and sightseeing.”
WNEM’s report also cited video of the explosions uploaded by YouTube user “AllpointsTV,” who appeared to have done some sightseeing of his own while the Army was training at the condemned school building.
The video showed the person recording it and a companion approach and interrogate a man who was dressed in civilian clothes and wearing a headset in a field beyond the building. The man identified himself as “Mike” with the U.S. Army and said he was securing the area during the training exercise. The person recording the video only identified himself as a member of the press for AllpointsTV, which appears to be a local video production service.
“So this is part of something connected to Jade Helm or something like that going on in the southwestern United States?” the person recording the video asked.
“No, no, no, no,” Mike responded.
“How is it not different? How is it not different?” the videographer pressed.
“This is separate,” the man said.
Mike told the videographer to address the rest of his questions to a public affairs office. Undeterred, the videographer and his companion peppered the man with questions for several more minutes.
The military training exercise in Flint is expected to last until June 12, according to WNEM.