Gun Room Explodes, injures wife of Idaho State Representative

Amy Wood, the wife of Idaho State Representative Fred Wood, was injured when a room in their house that was converted to a gun safe exploded! Magicvalley.com reports

Amy Wood, wife of Rep. Fred Wood, R-Burley, was taken by air ambulance to an unspecified Utah hospital suffering from second-degree burns to her face and hands.

Martin said an explosion from a room that was converted to a gun safe lifted up the patio slab at the back of the home and collapsed the patio roof. Martin said the patio slab appeared to be the roof of the gun safe room. Amy Wood was on the patio when the explosion occurred. The cause of the explosion is unknown at this time.

The damage looks extensive (click through for a higher resolution photo). I hope Mrs Wood recovers without any permanent damage …

I can only surmise that black powder was involved. How much blackpowder is needed and in what circumstances I am not sure since I do not use blackpowder. Share you theories in the comments.

[ Many thanks to Sven (Defence and Freedom) for the tip. ]





Steve Johnson

Founder and Dictator-In-Chief of TFB. A passionate gun owner, a shooting enthusiast and totally tacti-uncool. Favorite first date location: any gun range. Steve can be contacted here.


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  • SoWhiskey

    I think it was something else… How much black powder do you need to blow up a room and a patio? A 5kg barrel?

    • D

      Depends how well sealed the room is, and what it’s made out of.

      Anywhere from a kg to a few kg could do this, though.

      I have seriously no idea how this could have happened though. you’d need a spark, a open container of black powder, and a sealed room. how do you get all 3 at once?

    • Zincorium

      One other possible source of explosive is tannerite or similar if it had been already mixed in anticipation of being used. It’s not a very powerful explosive, but it’s likely someone would have more of it on hand than they would black powder.

      That’s still a huge mistake on his part, and it doesn’t explain how the detonation occurred. Best I can think of is spontaneous combustion of solvent-soaked rags from cleaning guns, and that’s a stretch. Having dangerously flammable rags next to open black powder next to already mixed binary explosives in a solidly locked gun safe is beyond negligent.

  • Big Daddy

    The question is did Mr. Wood have something in there he should not have.

  • Reverend Clint

    Meth lab

  • Brian P.

    How does something like this happen on accident? It seems suspicious….

  • lucusloc

    another possibility is a gas leak. interesting accident, be nice to know what the investigation finds out.

    • Scott

      Yo quiero Taco Bell……

  • MIke

    If he was a reloader, could have been poorly stored primers.

    But yeah, I read “Idaho” and my first thought is basement meth lab.

  • RocketScientist

    While there is scant information currently, I have my doubts about any meth-lab situation. I know addiction affects all economic strata, but I have a hard time believing a state representative would be involved in the meth trade. Not that politicians are exempt from being scumbags (quite the opposite) but if he were an addict I doubt he’d be able to maintain his political career (no one wants to vote for a methed-out toothless zombie) and if he wanted to make money illegally, as a politician he’d have access to much more profitable schemes with much less risk. As someone with a bit of experience with explosives (I’m an avid reloader, hold an Explosives Blaster’s Permit and an Explosives User’s License in my state of residence, as well as other BATFE certifications regarding hazardous materials I don’t wish to get into) I can tell you that a surprisingly modest amount of blackpowder can result in damage like that. In light of the fact that the room had been ‘converted to a gun safe room’ which could easily entail a tightly-sealing door and lack of ventilation, this damage could be exponentially greater. Even the relatively safe non-explosive smokeless powder (which many reloaders have tens of pounds of at any given time) can become extremely dangerous when stored improperly in a room that had essentially been converted into a gigantic pressure vessel (no easy path for pressure release/ventilation). Again, this is a lot of speculation on my part, but I just wanted to drive home the point that it is certainly possible that a gun enthusiast with a normal amount of black and/or smokeless powder could see this amount of damage as a result of improper storage. The meth-lab theory is certainly possible, but there are other valid explanations as well.

    • Icchan

      I wonder if he’d just been down there, cleaning a spill up, or if something fell and caused an aeration of powder and it caused something like a classic grain silo dust explosion. Black powder, smokeless powder, who knows; it’s not hard to come by up there and as you said you don’t need much if you treat it right. It certainly looks like a blast, but I’m very puzzled – the comment of “it sounded like a 747” speaks less to a BOOM than it does to a ROAR, something sustained rather than all-at-once. Certainly an interesting effect, but without having actually been there at the start and end of the incident, no real way to know.

      Either way there’s clearly no proper ventilation for that gun-room, because that sucker lifted the concrete slab and went to town on the house; check out the amount of wall debris scattered around. I’m thinking that anyone with such a room, any kind of protected safe-storage room like this, needs to strongly look into a blast-panel system like on the M1 Abrams. Something designed with fail-first in mind, allowing pressure to vent in a specific direction rather than just build until a structural member lets go. Doesn’t have to be too much, just something that can let enough pressure out quickly while, perhaps by just some light tack-welds or something, maintaining a good seal against entry and weather.

    • Mike LaForge

      The degree of containment causes the damage. Looks like a nice tight gun vault.

      • lucusloc

        correction: it looks like it *was* a nice tight gun vault. . .

  • RocketScientist

    Ha, sent this link to a friend, he replies with one question that I think is interesting:

    “What is his voting record regarding the 2nd Amendment?”

    • MMMaxHeadroom

      i dont get the downvotes here i think itd be interesting to know (and pretty ironic) if this guy was some anti-gun democrat Lord knows theres enough of them who say one thing and do another when it comes to guns

      • Beall

        An outside website states he is a member of the NRA.

        http://votesmart.org/candidate/biography/58404#.UGoHL1Ew_90

      • spencer

        Idaho and Democrats don’t mix.

      • John Doe

        Ugh I hate this so much. Democrats = anti-gun and anti-gun = Democrat?

        -a pro-gun Democrat

      • Bryan S.

        NRA membership does not mean pro-rights. You can sign your kids , dog, and fish up to be life members.

        And Democrat / Republican does not mean he knows WTF he is doing with the materials in question. That includes firearms.

    • Pepin the Short

      Rep. Fred Wood has been in the Idaho House for about five years and has voted twice in favor of gun ownership and carry rights.

      How many opportunities he has had to vote on the issue, I cannot say.

  • Gun Art Junkie

    Living in the same community with Rep. Woods, I can say that this isn’t the first time we had an incident like this. A couple of years ago, a neighbor to the Sheriff blew himself up from improperly stored powder.

    • Chase

      This is why, 200+ years ago in North America, there were laws requiring you to store your gunpowder in the town powder magazine instead of in your house.

  • gunslinger

    i’d be intersted to hear the forensics report of this.

  • John Doe

    Probably irresponsible black powder/tannerite storage.

    • Anonymoose

      This is the first thing that came to my mind. I only keep Pyrodex around, which I only use for my Uberti Walker. I don’t (re)load my own ammo (although I totally would if I had more space instead of just a studio apartment).

  • Chad Doe

    Please give us a follow up report. Considering getting into reloading. Needless to say makes me worry a little.

    It’s obvious by some of the down votes here that some people seriously lack a sense of humor.

  • 15yroldgunman

    Well oxygen plus fuel plus heat source equals boom

    • 6677

      Contrary to high school science classes no oxygen is needed. Just an oxidising agent of some sort (of which oxygen suffices). Firearms propellants already containing more than enough oxidiser in them to burn in a vacuum so the bunker wouldn’t even need to be that well ventilated for boom. And the ignition can come from other things than pure heat although thats the most common (C4 for example though heat will not trigger it, infact C4 can be set on fire quite safely).

      • John Doe

        C4 can be set on fire safely, except for the not-so-safe fumes 😉

        But I’ll take fumes over a kaboom.

      • 15yroldgunman

        So they sorta lie to me in construction mechanics and welding

  • Raoul O’Shaugnessy

    A slab of concrete….something under a patio explodes….hmmmm. This sounds a lot like someone had a little secret bunker they built and something went wrong.

  • Lance

    No smoking around gun powder!!!

  • sgt fish

    i can guarantee is wasnt tannerite. but it could have been some of the more sensitive targets. but it surely wasnt your name brand tannerite high power rifle targets

  • Zermoid

    Well, Even if he only had a pound of black powder (which I do think is likely the source of the explosion, static electric can set that stuff off) that blast would be enough to set off any smokeless powder in the vicinity, and any tannerite would probably go off too at that point, especially in a hardened, vault like room.

    Vaults are for storing guns, not reloading in!

  • Trev

    Going to throw out this as an outlier. Natural has explosion. Gas leak plus sealed room?

  • Mr Evilwrench

    Someone upthread mentioned the grain silo explosion, and that was the first thing that came to my mind. I’ve had experience with what we called “intrinsically safe” handheld radios designed so they could not generate a spark, specifically for use in grain silos and such places. If he’d managed to get some powder in the air, or if there was some flammable vapor (say a solvent), any motor, such as on a dehumidifier, could easily cause ignition. Gas leak would work the same way.

  • Well, I don’t expect the media to give us the whole story. Far from it. Only the headliner they got our attention with.

    Just educate yourselves people, read something, see this for what it is.

    Black Powder CANNOT be “set off” by static electricity unless it is as intense as is needed for the concentration in the air.

    I call BS on this one.

  • Tigger100

    Apparently the investigators think the cause was spontaneous combustion of a pile of solvent-soaked rags that had been used to clean guns.

    http://magicvalley.com/news/local/mini-cassia/home-explosion-investigation-turns-to-oil-rags/article_7e3767d4-0cc3-11e2-be84-0019bb2963f4.html

    The reason his wife was injured on the patio is because the patio is over the basement gun room where the explosion happened.