Explosion in Zuni remains under investigation

Published 11:15 am Friday, March 23, 2012

ZUNI—The cause into Thursday’s explosion inside a Zuni home remains under investigation and may never be determined, Isle of Wight County Sheriff’s Capt. Rick Gaddis said Friday.

The 6:30 a.m. explosion, which did $75,000 damage to the home at 6208 W. Blackwater Road, occurred in a room that resident Lee Freeman uses for reloading ammunition.

“The state police has to finish their investigation and lab tests,” Gaddis said. “The reality is the lab tests will show why the black powder exploded. There’s gotta be a spark. We could sit here and speculate for 100 years. I just don’t know.”

The explosion, which did not result in any injuries to the four residents, destroyed the room and damaged the ranch home’s rafters.

“Due to the amount of damage, we’re not sure they will be able to say what caused it to ignite,” Gaddis said.

Freeman had just walked out of the room when the explosion occurred. He told The Tidewater News he had no idea what caused it.

Gaddis noted that no one was in the room when the powder ignited, except for an opossum that Lee’s wife, Donna, believes the dog may have chased into the home. They were attempting to get the opossum out of the home at the time of the explosion. The opossum was killed.

During the investigation, a small amount of suspected marijuana and smoking devices allegedly were found. Charges are pending, Gaddis said.

Charles Pennington owns the home, which was insured. He has rented it to the Freemans for 2½ years.