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Authorities still investigating Bristol explosions

Union Leader Correspondent

October 11. 2017 9:04PM
Six one-pound canisters of Tannerite can be purchased at Abe's Awesome Armaments, a gun shop in New Hampton, for $29.99. (Bea Lewis/Correspondent)

BRISTOL — Police are continuing to investigate the circumstances surrounding a Saturday night gathering that involved the use of exploding rifle targets.

The phone lines for Lakes Region police departments were flooded with calls after two separate explosions occurred about 7:30 p.m. on private property off Morrison Road, less than a quarter-mile from the police station, near the Bristol airstrip.

“It was definitely a far-reaching event,” said Bristol Police Lt. Tim Woodward of the dual blasts that shook the ground and rattled windows.

Bristol has a disorderly actions ordinance that allows police to cite people for creating unreasonable noise, among other things. The maximum fine upon conviction is $1,000; the fine is typically $50 to $100, Woodward said.

Police believe Tannerite, which is not regulated by the ATF, was responsible. When shot with a high-power rifle, the binary reactive target (two components must be mixed together) produces a water vapor and a thunderous boom.

Eight miles away in New Hampton, a Main Street resident said she heard and felt the explosion and watched as a two-inch crack in a window in her circa-1780s house extended diagonally across the entire pane.

Pat Chapman, 83, said the noise was so loud she was convinced a bomb had been dropped on the roof.

“The windows shook, the whole house shook,” she said.

Signs posted at the entrance to Morrison Road in Bristol, which leads to a local airstrip. Police are investigating a Saturday night party in the area, where explosions led to hundreds of emergency calls. (Bea Lewis/Correspondent)

Chapman, who has a heart condition, said she began experiencing atrial fibrillation and only avoided a trip to the hospital by following her cardiologist’s advice and dowsing herself with very cold water from the sprayer at the kitchen sink.

“It felt like my heart was going to pound right out of my chest,” she said.

At Abe’s Awesome Armaments, a gun shop in New Hampton, Tannerite is among the items that are regularly stocked.

A shop salesman who identified himself as John said the store orders extra each fall because people like to put it inside a pumpkin and shoot it and watch the pieces fly.

In a post Tuesday on the store’s Facebook page is a photo of stacked cases of Tannerite and the caption: “Just in time for those pesky pumpkins.”

One Facebook commenter responded: “Be wary of selling to anyone in Bristol. I understand there is a record to be beaten.”

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