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The explosion was set off with a rifle on the Bedford County property of a volunteer firefighter.
Wednesday, September 25, 2013
Authorities are investigating after a Montvale firefighter’s car exploded at his Bedford County property Sunday while he and others were target shooting with a rifle.
No charges have been filed in the incident and no one was injured, but Bedford County Sheriff’s Office Maj. Ricky Gardner said the investigation into the incident is ongoing.
Gardner said deputies and the Montvale Volunteer Fire Department went to the 1100 block of Gross Hollow Road in Montvale just after 4:30 p.m. Sunday after receiving a report of a possible explosion.
Property owner Joseph Mitchell told deputies that he and several others were target shooting with a rifle using about 5 pounds of Tannerite, a type of explosive target marker used for firearms practice.
Mitchell said the group had placed the Tannerite in an inoperable 1993 Honda Accord parked in the middle of a large field on his property, according to Gardner.
“When the bullet struck the vehicle it detonated the Tannerite, causing the vehicle to explode,” Gardner said. “The explosion caused extensive damage to the vehicle.”
Tannerite’s website recommends using a half-pound of the explosive when firing at it with a high-powered rifle. Gardner said Mitchell told deputies they’d been using 10 times that amount.
The substance produces an explosion and cloud of vapor so shooters know if they’ve hit their mark.
Mitchell is vice president of the Montvale Volunteer Fire Department, according to department Chief Scott Hawkins. He said he was aware of the incident, but because he was not yet sure of the details, he said he could not speculate on how it might affect Mitchell’s status there.
“My understanding is everything is legal, what he was doing,” Hawkins said.
Mitchell declined to comment when reached by phone Tuesday.
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