BELFAST, Maine — Police say that a loud explosion Wednesday evening that startled residents throughout the Belfast area was caused by a man doing some legal target shooting in a pit off Route 52.
The Belfast man wasn’t charged with anything, although he was given a verbal warning for disorderly conduct. Police aren’t releasing his name.
They are, however, familiar with one of his hobbies: shooting at a target made with Tannerite, an explosive that is much more stable and less flammable than black powder.
“He does this kind of thing periodically,” said Detective Sgt. Bryan Cunningham. “Oftentimes he’ll call us when he does something of this nature.”
But he omitted to make that call before 7:13 p.m., when he reportedly shot at several targets at the same time, which apparently increased the noise level of the boom.
About a dozen people from as far away as Searsport called police to report hearing an explosion. Some told officials that the mysterious noise caused their houses to shake. One woman said her doorbell rang with the force of the boom.
Chris Bitely, a Belfast resident who was putting his infant son to bed at the time of the explosion, said that he heard the boom and wondered what it was. At first, he worried that his daughter might have created the noise and then he thought it might be thunder. When he logged onto Facebook, he found that his friends from Belfast, Swanville and Northport also had heard it.
His son remained asleep throughout.
Cunningham said that the target shooter did apologize to police for the loudness of the noise.