SPOKANE, Wash. -- A man reportedly lost his hand when a firecracker exploded early Saturday morning in a moving Jeep in North Spokane. Police said more explosives were found in the vehicle.
Police responded to a report of an explosion just after 1 a.m. near the 1200 block of East Rich Ave., not far from Rogers High School. Witnesses described a flash of light and an explosion coming from a Jeep traveling south on Morton. The vehicle left the roadway and came to rest nearby. Witnesses said the explosion coming from the vehicle had scattered debris over a half a block.
Police said officers quickly located the Jeep and found the adult male driver who had suffered a serious injury to his hand from the explosion. Officers immediately administered first aid and the victim was later transported to the hospital. Donald Wilkes, a 61-year-old resident of the neighborhood, said the explosion blew off the driver's left hand.
Wilkes said the street was filled with smoke when he ran outside. His 30-year-old son helped the driver out of the vehicle. Wilkes also said the man was coherent but wouldn't say what he had been doing -- instead, he just kept repeating "Oh God, oh God."
Police and neighbors applied tourniquets and helped save the man's life.
Spokane Police Officers and SPD’s Explosive Disposal Unit responded to the scene along with ATF agents, AMR, and the Spokane Fire Department. Police cordoned off streets in the area due to the possibility there might be explosives in the Jeep. Additional explosives were found inside, and a bomb squad was on scene until 7 a.m. defusing them.
It was not immediately clear what led up to the explosion. The initial investigation indicated the device that detonated was a pyrotechnic-type device, commonly referred to as an M-1000. Authorities also said the device was not a bomb.
According to SPD, the community was not believed to be in danger. Authorities said the explosion was an isolated incident.
The ATF was taking the lead in the ongoing investigation to determine if charges would be filed.