Blast injures man, draws federal agents to north Utah home
One man is hospitalized and several people were temporarily displaced from their homes after an explosion in the garage of a Providence residence that is currently being investigated by federal agents.
The investigation is expected to span several days and will include road closures and cancellation of classes for a local charter school, Sheriff Chad Jensen stated in a press release late Wednesday afternoon.
When deputies arrived at the residence in Providence at about 10 p.m. Tuesday, they discovered the explosive material and contacted the local bomb squad. Due to the nature of the material found, the FBI and the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives were contacted to assist with the investigation.
Local residents were evacuated or asked to shelter in place and were later allowed back into their homes after if was safe for them to do so, with the exception of the woman who lived in the home where the blast occurred.
As the investigation continues, Jensen stated, there are two road closures in place. The entrance to a cul-de-sac at 125 North off of 400 East will be open to local traffic only. Bluff Street between Spring Creek Parkway and 280 North is also open only to local traffic.
And, Jensen stated, as a matter of precaution, The Center for Creativity, Innovation and Discovery Charter School will be closed on Thursday, April 11.
According to Cache County Sheriff Lt. Doyle Peck, who was at the scene in the morning, a 22-year-old man was taken to a local hospital Tuesday night with serious injuries to his hand and shrapnel wounds in his abdomen.
“When they started looking into it, they found out that he had a license with the ATF but somehow during the process of putting some components together, there was a detonation that he wasn’t expecting,” Peck said.
Agents from the ATF and the FBI were at the home on 125 North on Wednesday, evaluating the materials found in the garage and the best way to dispose of those.
Experts first planned to do a controlled detonation, said Peck, who said the substances were thought to be too volatile to move.
However, after some discussion, Peck said agents are going to try some other alternatives first.
Peck said the known components, if detonated, would cause a small explosion that would be contained to the garage. However, he said, if there are other materials that have not been found, the blast could cause a larger blast that might affect other homes, so those homes were evacuated last night.
The investigation has grown to include a second Providence location.
According to the ATF website, members of the public can fill out a seven-page application for a permit or license that allows them to manufacture, import or deal in explosive materials, and each permit or license allows very specific activities.
Peck said he does not know the names of the substances found in the garage.
The FBI is leading the investigation, along with the Cache County Sheriff’s Office, the ATF and the Utah Bomb Task Force.
“We want to assure the community that there is no wider threat to public safety at this time,” said Sandra Yi Barker, a public affairs specialist for the FBI’s Salt Lake City Division. “As this is part of an ongoing investigation, no further information will be released.”