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Deputies Say Man Blew Himself Up Making Explosives to Pay for New Lawnmower (VIDEO)


A detached Ohio garage blew up over the weekend — allegedly because a man was making explosives to fund his purchase of a lawnmower. The victim who died by detonation was Michael Hopkins, 55, according to the Ashtabula County Sheriff’s Office.

Deputies with that office and firefighters with the Jefferson County Fire Department responded to the scene. Law enforcement was told that the man was trapped inside the garage. They found the garage behind a home burned to the ground and debris scatted onto a neighbor’s yard.

The victim passed away at the University Hospitals Geneva Medical Center. According to deputies, a neighbor said that the victim was making explosives to sell in order to fund a recently purchased lawnmower.

“The whole entire garage blew up, somebody needs to get here now,” a caller told 911 (as cited in a WEWS-TV report).

Video of the inferno shows flames engulfing the structure, which was partially hidden by a tree.  Several bursts of light and shock waves were part of the conflagration.

It was not clear if Hopkins actually sold any of the explosives or what they were meant to be used for, said Ashtabula County Sheriff William Niemi. The investigation is ongoing.

“Everybody heard explosions all around the neighborhood,” said a son of the victim’s girlfriend told WOIO-TV. The girlfriend’s son did not want to be identified.

“My mom’s pretty much in shock,” he said.

The elder son of the girlfriend credited his brother with running in to try to save Hopkins.

“Most people wouldn’t have reacted the way he reacted to actually run in,” he said. “Most people ran the opposite way.”

[Screengrab via Clay LePard / @ClayLePard]

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