A 42-year-old man who was making fireworks at home in the garage for the Fourth of July accidentally set off a massive amount of explosives in Fairfield, police said, and was taken to the hospital with severe burns and life-threatening injuries.
Fairfield Police Officer Cleo Mayoral said that police were called out on Wednesday about 5 p.m. to the 1700 block of Catlin Drive after a neighbor called in to report the big bang. When the bomb squad and the ATF eventually detonated the three boxes of the explosives down the road at 1 a.m. Thursday, the noise was so loud, that Mayoral said the department received more than 180 911 calls. The home is very close to Travis Air Force Base.
“Residents were very upset, very scared,” Mayoral said. “The explosives were extremely unstable and dangerous.”
When police arrived, police said they found Anthony Stewart had been illegally making an unknown quantity of explosives in his garage. Mayoral said that somehow some of the explosives went off, and blew off the side door of the garage and a fence, damaging a bit of the home. Stewart was alone in the garage, and Mayoral said that he believed some people were in the home, but they were not injured. Stewart’s wife was not home at the time, Mayoral said.
Stewart was badly burned and rushed to a trauma burn unit near Sacramento. Mayoral said his wife is at the hospital with him.
It is a felony to possess and manufacture explosives, Mayoral said, and if Stewart hadn’t accidentally set off the fireworks, he likely would have been arrested on those charges. If Stewart does recover from his injuries, Mayoral said police will complete the investigation and forward the matter to the District Attorney. This is the Fairfield Police Department’s first contact with Stewart.
Mayoral added, he does not know exactly how many pounds of explosives Stewart had, or what type of fireworks they were. He also didn’t know Stewart’s exact intentions for the fireworks, other than that he was preparing them for the Fourth of July.
Fairfield does not permit fireworks in its city limits. Mayoral said the closest sanctioned fireworks event on July 4 is in nearby Suisun on the marina.
Craig Cannon contributed to this report.