Fireworks Fright: Explosion Shakes Neighborhood

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AKRON-- An explosion outside of a home at 320 Grand Avenue in Akron late Monday left Kevin Skubic, 34, with extremely serious injuries, shattering windows, and damaging a pickup truck in the driveway.

Police said Skubic was carrying a box of homemade fireworks to the truck at about 8 p.m. when they suddenly detonated.

Akron Police Lieutenant Rick Edwards said investigators with the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms estimated what was in the box at the time was the equivalent of a quarter stick of dynamite.

Residents living behind the house said their home rattled and felt like it was lifted off the ground.

Denise Bowers was at home a short distance away on Grand Avenue; her grandson playing drums, when she heard the blast.

"There was this big boom, just a loud boom, and my grandson got up and said 'granny I don't like the thunder. I said baby that wasn't thunder. I don't know what it was,'" said Bowers.

The blast shattered front windows at the home where it happened and many of the front windows of the three-story house next door.

Miraculously, however, four boys who were playing basketball in the street just a short distance away from the blast were not injured.

Police said Skubic's girlfriend, Jessica Jira, 25, had walked to the other side of the truck when the package exploded and was not injured.

Authorities with the Akron Fire Department, Akron police, the Federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms were investigating.

Police documents show they found scales, fuses, funnels, nitrates and powder inside the home at 320 Grand.

Wayne R. Jones, 65, who lives at the address was arrested and charged with manufacturing explosives, unlawful posession of dangerous ordinance, illegal assembly, and posession of criminal tools.

Neighbors said Jones has staged elaborate fireworks displays in the neighborhood around the 4th of July every year since the late 1970s.

"We call him fireworks man," said one neighbor, who identified himself as C.J.

"Every fourth of July they get together to shoot fireworks. All the cars get off the street.  They shoot fireworks for the kids. Kids are outside on the porch watching fireworks," said C.J.

Neighbors, however, all said they had no idea anyone was making fireworks inside the home.

"That's too much for just a person to have around here in this neighborhood; that's too much," said Jermaine Stradwick.