A 16-year-old girl was found dead at Fort Lewis early Sunday, and a second teen girl was found unconscious in an incident which is raising questions that base officials are not yet prepared to answer.

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A 16-year-old girl was found dead at Fort Lewis early Sunday, and a second teen girl was found unconscious in an incident which is raising questions that base officials are not yet prepared to answer.

Fort Lewis spokesman John Norgren said a U.S. Army soldier has been questioned in relation to the incident but at this point has not been arrested or placed in custody. He said the incident is being treated “very seriously” by Fort Lewis’ top brass, who are still trying to figure out all the facts.

The girls are both civilian residents of South Puget Sound who are not affiliated with the military in any way, Norgren said.

He said Fort Lewis emergency-response personnel went out on a 911 call placed at 3:30 a.m. The 16-year-old girls, “both unresponsive,” were found in a barracks. One was declared dead at the scene by a doctor, while the other was rushed to Madigan Army Medical Center. The second girl was in stable condition today.

The dead girl showed no signs of physical trauma or any other obvious indications of what may have caused her death, Norgren said. Because of that, he said, the Office of the Armed Forces Medical Examiner is expected to conduct an autopsy.

He said the questions of how the girls got onto the secure base — and what they were doing there — are part of the ongoing investigation.

The accommodations on the base are a mix of older, open-bay barracks which house many soldiers and more-modern apartment-style barracks. The modern barracks typically have two or more private bedrooms and shared kitchens and common areas. Fort Lewis is not yet prepared to identify the type of barracks where the girls were found, Norgren said.

Fort Lewis is home to some 30,000 military personnel. It is a closed base, meaning that civilians who want to enter need to show identification at a checkpoint and need a valid reason for coming on to the base.

Fort Lewis put out a news release this afternoon, about 36 hours after the girls were found in the barracks. Norgren said the delay was due to the Presidents Day holiday and the need to notify the dead girl’s next of kin.

Norgren said it’s hoped the investigation will uncover what corrective action is needed to prevent such a tragedy in the future. “A review of installation policies and procedures is already underway,” said a news release issued by Fort Lewis.

Norgren said the investigation is being spearheaded by the Army’s Criminal Investigation Division, and that information is being shared with the Pierce County Sheriff’s Department. He said he didn’t know when more details would be made public.

Nick Perry: 206-515-5639 or nperry@seattletimes.com