A series of explosions that destroyed a storage shed near Mosier on April 3 and scattered debris for miles was caused by burglars who set off a booby trap, sheriff’s officials said.
One of two teenagers who broke into the shed 60 miles east of Portland activated the booby trap by kicking in an inside door, said Det. Jerry Sackmaster.
The ensuing explosion blew a 16-year-old boy three to four feet from the door, shattered his right ear drum and burned his right arm and right leg. He also suffered injuries from flying debris.
Both boys rushed out of the building and they heard another large explosion, Sackmaster said.
The shed contained a large amount of explosives and weapons and was owned by Raymond Hamblin, 52, of Hood River. He has pleaded innocent to explosives and weapons charges. He has said he built the stockpile out of fears for his family’s safety and it became an obsession to own more and bigger weapons.
Federal agents found 1,400 pounds of explosives, along with 15 hand grenades, a grenade launcher and six machine guns on Hamblin’s property.
The two boys involved in the initial break-in have been charged with one count each of burglary and three counts of theft.