Mythbusters Get Too Much Bang for Their Buck

Alameda-based TV show offers quite a fright

A big explosion, in the name of science, scared a lot of people in a small town.

The Discovery Channel's Mythbusters, who usually blow stuff up at their studio in  Alameda, Calif. went about 85 milies north to Yolo County for an "experiment", and ended up with a bigger bang than expected. The channel's resident geeks Jaime Hyneman and Adam Savage, who started their quirky science show in 2002, were trying to literally "knock the socks off" a mannequin by igniting 500 pounds of ammonium nitrate near the model. But the explosion was a lot bigger than they expected and the team shattered windows up to a mile away from the blast.

"It was a boom that was just -- I had never heard anything like that before, it was really weird," said Sherril Stephens.

Mythbuster's Biggest Blast to Date

The explosion was so big it shook the nearby town of Esparto and knocked Stephens off her couch and breaking her front window.

"'Course all the neighbors ran out into the street" said Paul Williams, who heard the explosion. "We didn't know what was going on," 

Some people said they thought it was a plane crash, others, a house explosion. The smoke and dust rose from the site about a mile from town. "It felt like a house blew up, straight up," Williams said.

Williams was working at local school when he said he heard and felt the big boom.

"We were just scrambling to find out what was going on because we got kids out on the playground," Williams said.

Williams said the school and others in town should have been notified the blast was going to happen.

Chief Barry Burns, of Esparto Fire Department, had several firefighters on hand for the explosion. He said he made the decision not to notify anyone in town for safety sake.

"Mythbusters is supposed to be a really popular show. Everybody would have been out there. We would have had to cancel it because it would have been too dangerous," Burns said.

For most people like Stephens, who had his window replaced by Mythbusters, they don't mind the inconvenience.

"It was fun, really fun," he said.

Now, she said she can't wait to see the show.

Mythbusters told the NBC affiliate in Sacramento they replaced a handful of broken windows. There is no word on when the episode they taped there will air.

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