The mystery surrounding a loud boom that sent shock waves through Chautauqua County Sunday has been solved. YNN's Mark Goshgarian spoke to the man who sparked the explosion and the firestorm of comments that followed on Facebook.
BUSTI, N.Y. — "There was a mushroom cloud and it was about 80 yards wide and went up in the sky about a 150 feet or so," said Travis Switaj, Busti Resident.
Twenty-year-old Travis Switaj went target shooting with friends Sunday evening on Lawson Road in Busti.
"It was just the biggest flash and it felt like you got punched in the chest by the shock from the explosion," said Switaj.
They used a product called Tannerite, a legal material sold in most sporting goods stores.
"We decided that it one pound wouldn't be enough and before you know it, we had quite a bit put together," said Switaj.
Lakewood-Busti police say the group actually mixed 18 pounds of it before they shot it with a rifle.
"We don't believe there was an ill intent, we believe this was individuals out having a good time target shooting... I don't believe they had any understanding as to the amount of explosion this product was going to cause," said Sgt. Paul Gustafson, Lakewood-Busti Police Investigator.
The impact sent off a tremendous boom that could be heard for miles, including areas like Bemus Point.
"It was loud enough to be recognizable as, you know a boom, just like a boom, we actually just thought it was thunder," said Betsy Eggleston, Bemus Point resident.
The explosion ignited a number of social media posts from people who say their house shook. It also caused several concerned homeowners to call Chautauqua County's 911 Center.
"We sent all cars in the area and gave them the information, they checked their patrol areas and we came up with nothing... a very large area so there was just no way for us to pinpoint where this sound came from," said Charles Holder, Chautauqua County Undersheriff.
Switaj says he didn't mean to cause such an uproar, and has learned his lesson.
"Someone could have gotten seriously hurt or injured and I'm sorry for my actions... I will never do that again," said Switaj.
No charges are being filed at this time.