Bomb Squad Investigates Maryland Car Explosion

By Matthew Stabley
|  Wednesday, Jun 16, 2010  |  Updated 1:41 PM EDT
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Car Explosion Investigation at Hyattsville Apartment Complex

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Hyattsville Explosion

An acetylene tank in a car in Hyattsvile caused an explosion that evacuated nearby residents for hours.

Car Explosion Investigation at Hyattsville Apartment Complex

Prince George's County Fire and Homeland Security officials say an explosive device went off in the parking garage at the Post Park apartment complex Tuesday afternoon, seriously damaging a car there.
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A chemical in a man's car set off an explosion at an apartment complex parking garage Tuesday.

And the person seen on surveillance video running from the scene? That was the owner of the car.

Prince George's County Fire and Rescue called the explosives unit to a suspicious car fire in Hyattsville, Md., Tuesday afternoon. Firefighters responding to a report of a vehicle on fire on the third level of an underground parking garage in the 3300 block of East West Highway withdrew when they saw something suspicious in the vehicle.

A witness told News4 there was a boom, and investigators determined that the explosion knocked the bumpers off the car and caused the airbags deployed, News4's Julie Carey reported.

The owner of the car works in the heating and air-conditioning field and had a leaking acetylene tank in his car, Prince George's County Fire and Rescue spokesman Maj. Tyrone Forby said. The man smelled the gas and tried to air out the car, Forby said, but after he started the vehicle, an explosion occurred as he pushed the controls to lower the windows, the Associated Press reported.

The man panicked and ran, Forby said. He suffered minor injuries.

Local and federal authorities spent hours investigating what they initially described as a suspicious scene. Bomb technicians were called in to investigate. The area was cordoned off and traffic was diverted around the scene into the evening rush, with East West Highway closed from Prince George's Plaza past the 3300 block.

The owner of the vehicle does not face charges, Forby said.


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