Three teenagers caused an explosion and damage to a neighbor’s carport and vehicle east of Battle Ground on Friday.
Clark County Fire & Rescue crews were dispatched around 2 p.m. to 20500 N.E. 87th Ave., for a report of an explosion.
Crews believed they were responding to a vehicle fire, but they met three teenage males who said they were trying to look inside an old metal tank. Fire Chief John Nohr described the tank as being about 4-by-8-feet and able to contain 600 gallons of liquid. Nohr said the tank was something that would generally be underground; the teenagers said the tank had been sitting unused on the property for several years.
The teens said they used a power tool to punch a smaller hole in the container, and then switched to using the claw-end of a hammer to widen the hole. A strike from the hammer created sparks, and the opposite end of the tank blew open, according to the fire chief.
There was about two to five gallons of liquid at the bottom of the tank, Nohr said.
An 80 pound chunk of metal was thrown across the road and struck the wooden beam of a carport. The projectile bounced backward and damaged a vehicle, Nohr said.
One of the males involved shoveled dirt onto the tank, which caught fire, Nohr said.
“The three teens are very lucky to be alive. They were standing on one side of the tank when the explosion happened and the opposite end ripped off. They could have been severely injured or killed,” Nohr said.
No crime was committed, but the group is responsible for the neighbor’s property damage, the fire chief said.