Lawmaker's gun room explosion likely 'spontaneous combustion'

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by Andrea Lutz

NWCN.com

Posted on October 2, 2012 at 10:49 AM

Updated Thursday, Dec 5 at 7:51 AM

BURLEY, Idaho -- Fire officials believe it was spontaneous combustion that made a gun room explode at the home of an Idaho state lawmaker last weekend.

The blast sent Representative Fred Wood's wife to a burn center in Salt Lake City on Saturday night.

Burley Fire Chief Keith Martin believes a gun room below Fred and Amy Wood's house exploded after rags with gun cleaning chemicals on them sat in a garbage bin and slowly produced enough heat to ignite on fire.

“He cleaned his guns, and we are thinking maybe the cleaning solvent and the rags that he used sat there over the week and slowly generated enough heat, where it finally spontaneously combusted,” said Chief Martin.

Martin said Wood was hunting just a week prior to the explosion.

REPRESENTATIVE WOOD TALKS TO KTVB

KTVB spoke with Representative Wood by phone from Salt Lake City on Monday

Wood said he heard a noise before the explosion, and went downstairs to the gun room to investigate.
Fire officials had previously said Wood could feel pressure against the door and decided not to open it, which was good--because moments later it exploded.

Amy Wood was upstairs above where the room is, out near the home's back patio. The blast didn’t injure Fred Wood, but Amy was hit.

“The resulting flames are what engulfed his wife, and she was standing on the back patio, luckily not on that piece of concrete that actually moved, otherwise she could have been seriously injured,” said Martin.

Martin added, “She had some possible second degree burns on her arms, her face, and when he went out back after the explosion, her hair was on fire,” said Chief Martin.

Martin said Wood called for help right away.

It was a bizarre incident according to Representative Wood, who says he's been living in that home for 30 years.

He said the room served as a secure spot for many family valuables, and not just guns. Wood told KTVB he had no explanation for the blast.

SAFETY AND FIREARMS

“I don't know the circumstances of which this accident occurred. I only know that we always have to think safety first,” said Karl Miller with Boise Gun Company.

Miller did not want to speculate on what could have caused the blast at the home of the Woods, but said any kind of event like this can serve as a reminder that all gun users should remember their simple safety tips.

“You are never going to want to use any kind of flammable materials around any kind of heat source,” explained Miller.

He said nowadays, most cleaning materials dry relatively fast.

“And make sure that there is plenty of air there is no enclosed area,” he said.

Representative Wood said his biggest message for now, was to thank all the citizens of Idaho for their support for his family through this tough time. He assured his wife is doing well, but was not sure how long her recovery would take.

Fire Chief Martin also said the investigation from the State Fire Marshall could take a month or two before its complete.

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