Target explosives shake upMiddlebrook
MIDDLEBROOK— Over the past few weeks, residents of the quiet town of Middlebrook have been hearing loud explosions at random times.
“The big booms were rather scary,” Lynn Norley said. She started hearing them a week ago at her farm on Dutch Hollow Road in the early afternoon and evening.
“The first one we heard we thought was like dynamite or something,” she said.
Later, she was at a friend’s home for dinner, just down the road, and the booms happened again.
Middlebrook Fire Department’s Chief Operational Officer Jason Shultz says the cause of the racket is Tannerite, an exploding target.
Hunters and those doing target practice have turned to using the exploding targets for an added adrenaline rush.
According to Henley Gabeau, who writes a weekly Middlebrook newsletter sent out via email, many residents had been talking and reporting the loud explosions.
“It sounds like a very loud firework,” said Kevin Harris of Dominion Outdoors in Fishersville. The sport shop, which specializes in guns and hunting gear, sells Tannerite and other exploding target brands.
Shultz said if someone hears an explosion and is concerned, they should call 911.
Tannerite is a combination of ammonium nitrate, which acts as an oxidizer, and aluminum powder for the fuel, according to the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.
When the two powders are mixed and shaken it produces an explosive material. The combination is relatively stable, nonflammable and is detonated with a high-velocity shot, which makes it explode and produces a loud sound.
Tannerite falls under the same laws as black powder and all other explosives that are exempt for sporting use, its website said.