Illegal Fireworks A Possible Cause In St. Joseph Home Explosion

Jul 5, 2017

St. Joseph Police and investigators with the U.S. Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives sifted through wreckage Wednesday, trying to determine the cause of an explosion that leveled a house and injured three people. 

According to Jon Ham, public information officer for the ATF's Kansas City division, investigators expect to know the cause later Wednesday. 

"What we'll have to do is use heavy equipment to move some of the pieces of the house so that we can begin to piece together what happened,"  Ham said. 

Investigators are looking into reports from neighbors of illicit activity in the house. 

“The neighbors told investigators yesterday that they for some time have been concerned about the occupants of the house manufacturing illegal fireworks, illegal explosive devices," Ham said. "That’s certainly something we’re looking into at this point until we can determine the cause.”

A neighbor reported hearing two large booms Tuesday morning before calling police. 

The St. Joseph Post reports police took a 53-year old into custody Wednesday related to the explosion. 

Katie Bernard is KCUR's morning news intern.