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Explosion rocks Fairbanks, investigation under way

Laurel Andrews

Alaska State Troopers are investigating an explosion in the Chena Pump area of Fairbanks that blew out windows and rattled nearby homes Saturday afternoon.

The blast occurred at about 4 p.m. near Heather and Gateway Drive on Chena Ridge, on the west side of Fairbanks. Troopers received reports of broken windows, dents to houses and items knocked from shelves. “About a dozen homes were affected by it,” said troopers spokeswoman Megan Peters.

Peters pointed out that no residents were harmed and no structures were destroyed, meaning that the blast occurred outside. Peters declined to name the exact location or the property owner.

Nearby resident Cody Crane said his house suffered a “fair amount” of damage. The garage doors were blown off their hinges and pushed in, siding came off the house, and there are cracks in the front wall.

Hans Way resident Melanie Arthur told the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner that three storm windows were knocked off the side of her home. “I was on the second floor and it was so loud and so strong I thought my propane tank (buried below the first floor) exploded,” she told the News-Miner.

The News-Miner reports that several neighbors suspect the source to be recreational explosives from a homeowner who owns a private shooting range and has previously been the source of smaller explosions. The shooting range has been the source of an ongoing dispute between owner Craig O’Donoghue and troopers and neighbors, who say the noise and stray bullets are a concern for surrounding residents.