Charges possible as Fire Marshal probes explosion near Middletown


Charges are pending  after an explosion in the Middletown area. .

The blast was heard throughout northern Delaware.

The explosion was reported shortly before noon, in the 4700 block of Summit Bridge Road.

The Volunteer Hose Company of Middletown responded to several 9-1-1 calls reporting an explosion north of Middletown.  Firefighters discovered a vehicle damaged by explosives in the farm field approximately 500 yards west of Summit Bridge Road.

Deputy fire marshals were called to the scene to conduct the investigation. 

Several people gathered in the field before the explosion for target practice.  Towards the end of target practice, an explosive mixture commonly known as a binary exploding rifle target was prepared and placed next to an abandoned vehicle. 

The exploding rifle target was detonated using a long-range rifle.

The vehicle was destroyed, with fragments scattered throughout nearly three acres of farmland.  

“The binary exploding rifle target was misused and not in accordance with its lawful purpose,” a release from the Fire Mashal’s office stated.

The Delaware State Police – Explosive Ordnance Disposal unit and explosive specialists from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives  are assisting with the investigation. 

No injuries were reported.  Investigators are canvassing the area to determine if any property had been damaged.  All suspects have been identified, and criminal charges are pending review by the State of Delaware Attorney General’s office.