Boom!

The Rappahannock County Sheriff’s Office said it was inundated with phone calls early yesterday (Wednesday) afternoon around 1:45 p.m., with concerned citizens reporting a “huge” explosion.

“We have checked it out and it was nothing more than Tannerite near Chester Gap,” Sheriff Connie Compton told the Rappahannock News through a spokesperson. “People set it up and hit it with bullets, and it sounds like a loud explosion.”

Reverberation from the loud blast could be “heard and felt” as far as 30 miles away, including in Rixeyville, Amissville and Tiger Valley.

Tannerite is the patented name of a binary explosive target used primarily for firearms practice. It is created by mixing two powders, most commonly ammonium nitrate and aluminum powder.

Bans on exploding targets like Tannerite have been put into effect throughout the country as conditions warrant. In recent years, for instance, the U.S. Forest Service has banned the targets in western states out of wildfire and safety concerns.

“I felt it in Tiger Valley near Washington,” Rappahannock resident Ken Norman took to social media to report yesterday. “I wonder if it was another earthquake?”

“Yes, it shook our house,” said Erika Sinnott of Flint Hill.

About John McCaslin 187 Articles
John McCaslin is the editor of the Rappahannock News. Email him at editor@rappnews.com.

19 Comments

  1. Just curious as to how the conclusion was reached that it was only 5 lbs. of Tannerite? I can’t imagine there being much evidence left of the explosion. Was it based on just asking the person how much they shot in to?

  2. “Nothing more”??? Are you kidding me? Law enforcement should be more concerned about it. Unless good people stand up against these kinds of problems, they only get worse.

  3. We live on the South face of Chester Gap, and the whole mountain shook. Our house felt as though lightning had struck it. At first I thought a plane had gone down. A little tannerite hit with bullets in target practice? Meh….not buying that story. The MOUNTAIN shook at though something huge like a passenger plane hit it.

  4. Let’s keep in mind Timothy McVeigh had “nothing more” than fertilizer and diesel fuel in Oklahoma City. What was the quantity of “Tannerite” detonated in Chester Gap? How much is one allowed to stockpile? How much is one allowed to transport on an interstate highway, say over a bridge? A better question is: had that same quantity, that was detonated, been found in the trunk of a car under an interstate bridge by the ATF, would it have been so easily dismissed? Ground zero of that explosion holds a ton of evidence. How thoroughly was that crime scene investigated? The only dumb question is the one that isn’t asked.

    • I agree. I live in Huntly, and I had indoor objects flying off walls, bookshelves, and tables. Outside, the porch rocking chairs were agitated. The fact that this article reports our sheriff minimizing this explosion, “nothing more” is sadly lame. There is no excuse for an amateur individual having access to a substance that could cause a sonic boom.

    • I completely agree. It was easily dismissed as ‘nothing much’. I know how my house shook, how the ground shook. It was big. I live pretty close to where it happened. I really thought a passenger plane had gone down on our property.

  5. How the heck much did they blow up? My husband has shot at varying sized containers of Tannerite in our pasture several times and it has *never* shook the house. Not once. My first thought was, did someone blow up something with more punch and just use Tannerite as the scapegoat/cover story?

  6. Wednesday, April 14th, at around 2 pm our whole house shook and so did the chair I was sitting in. I thought the ground under me was opening up like a sinkhole or that one of our large trees had fallen right beside our house. I ran from our house to the outside and no tree, no sinkhole swallowing up our house, no birds chirping and no helicopters flying overhead just very quiet. Still very concerned and still quite frightened by it especially not knowing what had cause this loud sound and I mean so loud that it shook everything around me and under me. I then decided to return to the inside of my home and I sat there for a few moments to wait to make sure all was well again even though I still do not know for sure what had just happened.

  7. So, if Tannerite has been banned in many places, wouldn’t that indicate it is important enough to for LEO’S to check it out and let the public know more about the incident? This article does not let us know who the “people” were that were firing at the Tannerite target/s. And why use this as the target? To make a ton of noise…only? Seems like a LOT of power. Legit usage or not? Seems like much more info and public communication is called for.

  8. “Nothing more” than tannerite? Well, it got set off right near my house in the woods without warning and it was felt almost to Fauquier county…..that’s a bit more than “nothing more” and this was after about two hours of nothing but constant semi-automatic gunfire going off all morning into the afternoon. I have dogs, one of which can’t get excited because it has a collapsing tracea and if she starts to pant excessively she’s could possibly die. “nothing more”?

  9. Today is Wednesday. The 14th of Feb. So do you mean Tuesday? People are saying it was today. 2/14/18 which is Wed. But the article says yesterday.

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