CBS News PhillyWatch

Group Doing Target Practice 'Misused' Exploding Rifle Target, Caused Explosion In Middletown: Fire Marshal's Office

NEW CASTLE COUNTY, Del. (CBS) — An explosion that scattered debris across part of Middletown was caused by a group of people shooting a binary exploding rifle target in a field, according to the Delaware State Fire Marshal. This happened around noon Sunday near the 4700 block of Summit Bridge Road.

The fire marshal’s office said the Volunteer Hose Company of Middletown got multiple 911 calls about an explosion north of Middletown. Firefighters discovered a damaged vehicle in a farm field nearby.

Investigators said several people gathered before the explosion for target practice with guns. Near the end of practice, officials said someone prepared a binary exploding rifle target, which is an explosive mixture, and put it next to the abandoned vehicle. Someone fired a long-range rifle and hit the target, setting it off.

The explosion damaged the vehicle, sending debris throughout nearly three acres of farmland. Investigators said the target “was misused and not in accordance with its lawful purpose.”

No injuries were reported. Criminal charges are pending for all suspects involved.

The Delaware State Police Department’s Explosive Ordnance Disposal unit are assisting in the continuing investigation, along with explosive specialists from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms, and Explosives.