Last week, police in Bristol arrested a man in connection with two explosions that rocked the town earlier this month. Those blasts were caused by something called binary explosives, designed for use in target practice.
Bristol Police Lieutenant Kris Bean says on the evening of October 7th, not long after sunset, his department was suddenly flooded with 911 calls.
“That ranged from people reporting an explosion, people reporting their houses were being burglarized because they thought that the front door was being kicked in from the shaking of the door. We had numerous reports of an earthquake.”
Bean says there were 92 emergency calls made that evening from as far away as Laconia – about a dozen miles away.
What some people thought was an earthquake was actually two explosions that were set off when something called a binary explosive was shot with a gun.
These explosives are often referred to by the brand name Tannerite. They are meant for target practice, though police say Tannerite was not the specific explosive used in this case.
“In the vernacular, it’s an exploding target.”
That’s Scot Villeneuve with Renaissance Firearms in Barrington which sells Tannerite. He says people like to buy it so they can tell if they’ve hit their target from far away. He says for that, shooters only need about a pound or less.
Bristol Police say these two explosions were caused when 50 pounds and then 100 pounds of binary explosives were set off.
“100 pounds is very scary. I’ve seen what 1 pound can do and if someone bought 100 pounds of Tannerite, I would be very suspicious of that.”
A quick youtube search shows there are plenty of people who are using binary explosives for more than target practice.
In one video, 30 pounds of Tannerite utterly destroys a Ford Bronco.
The compounds are available at many guns stores and are only lightly regulated. The two chemicals involved aren’t explosive until they’re mixed. And even then it takes a high powered rifle to set it off.
But even if it is legal to possess these chemicals, the Bristol Police department says blowing up this much of it, isn’t. Last week, they arrested 22-year-old Kyle Lyford of New Hampton in connection with the explosions.
“We charged with him with reckless conduct and we charged him with a riot.”
Lieutenant Bean says two other people who may have been involved in the explosions could also face arrest soon.
Note: This story was amended to make clear that Tannerite was not the explosive used in this case.