- Associated Press - Wednesday, July 16, 2014

JUNEAU, Alaska (AP) - Petersburg police say a man who was injured Sunday in an explosion was not authorized to detonate material at the borough’s gravel or rock pit.

There is no evidence the man, described as a 59-year-old Petersburg resident, was attempting to injure others since there are no nearby homes or buildings, Petersburg Police Chief Kelly Swihart told the Juneau Empire (https://is.gd/mG28JG) on Wednesday.

But he also doesn’t know what the man was doing on the borough property.

“I don’t think there was any legitimate commercial purpose for him being there,” Swihart said. “The property does not belong to him, it belongs to the borough. He was trespassing there when he detonated it.”

The man, who hasn’t been identified by police, was injured in the explosion Sunday. Police were alerted when someone called 911 to report there was an injured man outside the emergency room.

The man was later flown to a Seattle hospital, where he was reported to be in serious condition. Swihart said family members have described the man’s injuries as “not life threatening but they are significant.”

Police found a 5-gallon bucket containing about 20 pounds of a gelatinous substance in the man’s pickup. Police later executed search warrants at another location in town and the man’s home. Police discovered two more 5-gallon buckets containing a similar substance. Tests showed the material to be explosive material that is commercially available. Authorities are trying to determine where it was purchased or if it was homemade.

“None of the things that we’re finding are illegal to own if (you have the) proper license and permits,” Swihart said. “It’s how you use them that may make it criminal.”

Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms agents have taken the investigative lead, and will see if the man had any permits for the substance.

The agency planned to detonate the substance because there is no safe place to store it.


Information from: Juneau (Alaska) Empire, https://www.juneauempire.com

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