Police investigating after overnight explosion in East Boston

BOSTON - Police are investigating after reports of an overnight explosion in an East Boston neighborhood.

Boston Police and Boston Fire responded to the incident on Webster Street just before 1 a.m. on Sunday on the second floor of a three-story building.

Police say one man was taken to an area hospital for his injuries, and remains in critical but stable condition. Boston Fire say the man suffered second-degree burns to lower extremities in the explosion.

Police also say the 28-year-old man is also a person of interest in the incident.

"He was in the army, [he's] just a really good guy, whatever he was doing I don’t think it was malicious at all, I think it was just an accident," said David DaMelio, a neighbor. "Everybody is going to jump to speculation and think of the worst."

The blast was powerful enough to blow out several windows in the second floor apartment on Webster Street.

Residents on the first and third floors of the building were safely evacuated and displaced.

Boston Fire observed a firearm on the second floor, and couldn't determine the cause of the explosion.

A bomb squad was seen on scene, and the area was secured by police as they get a warrant to search the second-floor apartment.

One witness said the response to the situation was a quick one.

"All of a sudden, I heard an explosion like a transformer blew. That was my first instinct," Keith Johnson said. "I looked out the window and looked down the street, and saw some flames coming out of the window.  I heard a glass-shattering blow. So I called 911, rushed down to the street and the fire department was here in a couple minutes."

One woman who lives next door told Boston 25 News said the man's three dogs were rescued from his apartment.

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The Federal Bureau of Investigation and Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives are assisting Boston Police in the investigation.

Boston Police Commissioner William Evans updated the public on the explosion shortly after 3:30 p.m.

Commissioner Evans said both the FBI and ATF obtained a warrant to look through evidence in the apartment.

"At this time, Boston Police do not believe there is any nexus to terrorism with this subject," said Commissioner Evans.

So far, investigators have determined the subject was apparently experimenting with powders and chemicals when the mix combusted and blew up in his face.

“We don’t think there’s any sinister plot," said Commissioner Evans. "Probably playing an experiment with powder and chemicals and we believe from that combustion - it blew up in his face."

Authorities are withholding the subject's identity as they continue with the investigation.

Boston Police said they found live ammunition, live weapons and several air rifles inside the apartment as well.

Some residents in the area were evacuated as they waited for the FBI and ATF to finish looking through evidence. Boston's Inspectional Service Division (ISD) was also called to the scene to assess the apartment before allowing residents back into their homes.

Police cleared the scene at 88 Webster Street by 8:00 p.m  on Sunday. Residents were allowed back into their homes, including those who live in the triple decker where the explosion happened.

Commissioner Evans said there was no assembled bomb found inside the apartment and he does not believe this incident has ties to terrorism.

The subject has not been charged at this point, but will likely face some charges. For now, he remains hospitalized at Massachusetts General Hospital with serious burns.


Boston Police Commissioner William Evans providing update on East Boston explosion

Posted by Boston 25 News on Sunday, July 8, 2018