PROVIDENCE — Two Cache County men have been charged after a homemade blasting cap went off in a Providence garage and injured them both on Tuesday.
Jeffrey Randy Toombs, 21, and Joshua Daniel Keith, 22, have each been charged with two counts of recklessness — incendiary device, a second-degree felony, and one count of reckless endangerment, a Class A misdemeanor, in 1st District Court.
The charges come after several homes and nearby school in Providence were briefly evacuated Wednesday while state and federal agencies cleared a home of “explosive material.”
On Tuesday, April 9, both Toombs and Keith showed up at a Cache County hospital with shrapnel wounds. Toombs had wounds on his right forearm, while Keith was had sustained “severe injuries to his hand, torso, and eye” and was being prepped for major surgery, according to court documents.
Police interviewed Toombs, who said he and Keith had been making homemade blasting caps at Toombs’s residence in Providence when the device “unintentionally detonated” as they were packing explosives into a shell casing. The two men had received a license from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives to manufacture explosives, Toombs said, and had purchased explosive materials in Salt Lake City.
Toombs returned to his home with detectives and showed them where the device had detonated, the affidavit said. The men had been using a garage attached to a home as a manufacturing area.
A bottle of Hexamethylene Triperoxide Diamine (HMTD), the primary explosive used in blasting caps, was found in the garage. Court documents allege that the HMTD was “not stored in an area required by federal regulation” and that there was enough of the explosive to “cause substantial injury or death.”
The HMTD was found almost 10 feet from a room in the house occupied by other family members, including children, police say.
Toombs told police that Keith had allegedly packed the HMTD into spent rifle cartridge casings to make the blasting cap. However, blasting caps don’t fragment and are for commercial use; the “destruction device” Toombs and Keith had made “served no commercial purpose and also fragmented,” court documents said.
The two men had also placed HMTD into a plastic bottle, creating another destructive device. An ATF license doesn’t give manufacturers the authority to make destructive devices and the two men “went beyond manufacturing an explosive by packing the explosive into a container,” the affidavit said.
“Manufacturing a destructive device in close proximity to other individuals inside the residence was in gross disregard for a substantial and unjustifiable risk to those individuals,” police said in the affidavit. “This risk is a gross deviation from common practices or standard of care in manufacturing explosives.”
Toombs was arrested on Wednesday and is being held in the Cache County Jail without bail. He appeared in court Thursday and will have another hearing on Monday, April 15.
An arrest warrant was issued for Keith, who is still hospitalized for his injuries. Police also requested that Keith be held without bail as they believe there are other locations where explosives materials have been stored that haven’t been found and processed by authorities.
“The release of Joshua Keith from jail would pose a substantial risk to the public based on the fact that he could have immediate access to explosives and explosive materials,” the affidavit said.