Person playing with explosive compound rattled homeowners in Medina County

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MEDINA COUNTY, Ohio — Medina police say a property owner playing with an explosive compound rattled people and homes Sunday. It could be heard five miles away.

It started with a loud boom around 4 p.m. and was followed forty minutes later by a much larger explosion.

Multiple 911 calls flooded the Medina police dispatch lines and all described something that sounded like a bomb and felt like an earthquake.

A homeowner, who asked not to be identified and lives two miles from where it happened, said, “It shook my whole house; things were falling off of my pantry shelves. It was terrible.”

Medina officers responded and tracked down the source of the explosions to a large property on Westfield Road in Lafayette Township owned by 36-year-old Michael Norton.

“We came to learn that it was a 4-pound Tannerite explosion,” said Medina Police Chief Ed Kinney. “Tannerite is a binary exploding target comprised of ammonium nitrate and ammonium powder.”

Chief Kinney says the two substances are legal to purchase and used legally for other purposes, but become dangerous and illegal when mixed together.

“When you mix the two it becomes sensitized ammonium nitrate and that’s where it becomes illegal,” said Chief Kinney. “It’s an exploding target; you shoot it with a high powered rifle.”

Norton told officers he used a rifle to set off the Tannerite, but had no idea how far the blast traveled and he promised not to ever do it again.

No one was hurt physically, but Chief Kinney says the incident was significant and officers cited Norton with inducing panic.

The case has been turned over to the Medina County Prosecutor’s Office.

They’ll decide if any additional charges are warranted.

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