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Blast under investigation by ATF

Federal Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives agents continue to investigate an explosion in Harrison County on the morning of Aug. 1.
Bryan Byrne, a sergeant with the Harrison County Sheriff’s Department, said multiple calls came in to Harrison County Dispatch reporting an explosion that shook houses and rattled windows in the area.
An ATF agent sent to the scene collected evidence from a blast area near Baker Hollow Road. The area where the explosion took place measured about 50 feet in diameter, with trees in the vicinity charred as high as 15 feet.
Kathy Goldman, wife of Harrison County Commissioner James Goldman, told her husband she thought a liquid propane tank had exploded.
The Goldmans live about a quarter of a mile from the site of the blast.
‘I wasn’t home, but my wife was. It scared her to death,’ James Goldman said. ‘It was a pretty strong explosion.’
He said an ATF agent from Louisville took a sample of the ground and sent it to Washington to be tested. From what he could tell, Goldman said it appeared to be a homemade bomb made in a plastic five-gallon bucket.
Sean Atkins, a group supervisor for the ATF’s Louisville office, said there was no way to classify how strong the blast was.
‘If you have a small explosive device and set it off in a room, it’s probably going to do an extensive amount of damage.
‘If you set the same device off in an isolated area like this, there’s probably not going to be much damage,’ Atkins said. ‘It’s all relative.’
Evidence collected at the scene was sent to the ATF’s regional laboratory in Ammendale, Md., where ATF officials hope to get a report listing the ingredients of the device.
Since there were no injuries and no damage was reported, the investigation is of the lowest priority, Atkins said.
‘We work on a triage basis, and how soon the report is complete depends on the workload at the lab,’ Atkins added.
The Harrison County Sheriff’s Department and Harrison County Emergency Management Agency director Greg Reas assisted at the scene.
Staff Writer Ross Schulz contributed to this story.

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