A 36-year-old man was taken to a Portland hospital Thursday after he was severely injured in an explosion, and his arm required partial amputation, according to fire officials.
Clark County Deputy Fire Marshal Caleb Barnes said it is believed the man was mixing ingredients for homemade fireworks and caused an explosion. Barnes still needs to interview the man, however, when he recovers enough from his injuries.
Clark County Fire & Rescue crews were dispatched shortly after 6 p.m. to the 2500 block of Northeast 199th Street in Ridgefield for a report of a possible fireworks-related injury, Fire Chief John Nohr said.
“They found a guy who’d been significantly injured by something that exploded,” Nohr said.
The fire chief said he would describe the man’s injuries as potentially life-threatening. Medics took the injured man to the trauma center at Legacy Emanuel Medical Center in Portland, where doctors performed a partial amputation of his arm, Nohr said.
The man also suffered some other injuries, he said, such as burns.
Two bomb technicians responded to the address to clear the scene of explosive materials, Barnes said. The man had a large quantity of oxidizers and fuels used in fireworks production. Investigators think that he was in the middle of stirring or mixing the substances when the explosion happened near the edge of a large garage or shop.
“It could have been static electricity from the stirring; it could have been something else. (The ingredients) are very volatile and can react to environmental conditions. It’s a really bad idea,” Barnes said.
Multiple vehicles were damaged by the explosion, but there was little structural damage to the garage. There was no fire, only “localized blast damage,” Barnes said.
In addition to the physical injuries, the man may be in trouble with the law. The fire marshal said possessing the quantities of explosive ingredients that the man had is illegal. It is also illegal to make or modify fireworks, he said.
“Modification can be as simple as putting two fireworks together with a rubber band,” Barnes said.
Officials did not identify the man. The investigation is ongoing.