A 44-year-old man lost at least most of his left hand in an explosion July 6 when he allegedly was making fireworks at his home near Valle Lake south of De Soto, authorities reported.
In addition, the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives has “an open criminal investigation” in connection with the incident, said John Ham, spokesman for the ATF’s Kansas City Field Division.
He said the ATF sent materials from the explosion to its “explosives lab” for analysis, and depending on the results, the agency could seek federal charges through the U.S. Attorney’s Office.
“There was a law violated here,” Ham said. “But, we need that (the lab results) before seeking charges.”
He said it could take a few weeks to get the lab results.
Ham said the ATF is working with the Missouri Fire Marshal’s Office to investigate the case.
The Jefferson County Sheriff’s Office got a call around 9 a.m. about the explosion, and deputies responded to the scene, said Grant Bissell, spokesman for the Sheriff’s Office.
“It seemed like he (the man hurt in the explosion) had a workshop set up (in his garage) for doing this kind of stuff,” Bissell said.
He said the Sheriff’s Office initially was investigating a possible criminal offense, but the case was turned over to the St. Louis County Police Department’s Regional Bomb and Arson Unit and the ATF.
“Detectives assigned to the Bomb and Arson Unit identified items of concern at the scene and rendered them safe,” St. Louis County Police spokesman Benjamin Granda said in a written statement. “The items were consistent with those used in the creation of homemade explosives.”
Granda said the Bomb and Arson Unit’s responsibilities concluded when it made sure the alleged explosive materials no longer posed any danger, adding that the agency is not involved in any ongoing investigation.
The De Soto Rural Fire Protection District also responded to the scene of the explosion, but there was no fire that had to be extinguished, Assistant Chief Tom Fitzgerald said.
“There was a lot of smoke coming from the garage,” he said.
However, that smoke was from the explosion and not a fire, Fitzgerald said.
He said there appeared to be no significant damage to the home.
The De Soto Fire Department and the High Ridge, Jefferson R-7 and Cedar Hill fire protection districts also responded to the call, as did the Valle and Big River ambulance districts, De Soto Rural Fire Chief Paul Mayer said.