NJ residents upset at police for describing backyard explosion as “accidental”

30 October 2006: Residents of one neighborhood in the historic and generally quiet city of Burlington, New Jersey, are upset. They are upset at a 42 year-old man who caused an explosion Saturday afternoon near his backyard pool using a mixture of pool chemicals. They are also upset at the city of Burlington police department for downplaying the event and initially classifying the explosion as an accident.

According to at least three residents of Burlington, the explosion sounded like a shotgun blast and was definitely no accident; the neighbors have even offered official statements to police who maintained through Saturday night that there was “no evidence to suggest that the backyard blast was anything but accidental.”

The explosion occurred shortly before 2:00 p.m. and sounded like a “shot-gun blast,” according to area residents. First responders including the city of Burlington police department, the Burlington fire department and rescue personnel, Burlington County Hazmat teams and the New Jersey State police were at the scene and cordoned off the block and surrounding streets until nearly 9 p.m., about seven hours after the reported explosion.

The blast injured the 42 year-old man who police refused to identify due to the ongoing nature of the investigation. According to Police Chief John Lazzarotti, no charges have been filed against the man, who lives with his 14 year-old son in the house owned by his parents. He was transported to Lourdes Health System at Rancocas hospital for treatment of his injuries, which were described as “non life-threatening.” His son, who was not injured in the blast, was taken into police custody due to his father being hospitalized. Police stated that they were having difficulty locating other family members, adding that the man’s parents were “out of state.”

Yesterday afternoon, Doug Hagmann, director of the Northeast Intelligence Network, interviewed one man who was affected by Saturday’s events.  This neighbor is not only upset with the man who “made and set off the bomb,” but is frustrated at the police for describing the event as an accident “when it was definitely intentional.”

The Northeast Intelligence Network is closely following this “ongoing investigation.”