By Curt Peterson
Killington Police chief Whit Montgomery said their dispatcher has had numerous complaints over the past two weeks about “very loud explosions somewhere in town.”
“The complaints have been on-going,” Montgomery told the Mountain Times. “The explosions will occur for a couple of days, then it will be quiet for a couple, then start up again.”
He said there is still a question about the size and type of devices being used, but it’s “something much different than fireworks,” he said. “You can hear it all over town. And the sound echoes off the mountain, making it difficult to pinpoint the source.”
A few years ago, some people were setting off earth-shaking amounts of Tannerite, an explosive used for firearms target practice. When struck by a bullet, a small amount of the material blows up a charge, indicating the shooter has had a direct hit. In larger amounts, the explosions can be both noisy and potentially dangerous.
Montgomery said Tannerite might be a possibility in this situation, but he would only be guessing at this point.
“I can tell you it’s nothing you can buy locally,” he said. “It’s certainly louder than anything like that. It could even be dynamite.”
Judging by the locations where most complaints originated, the investigation has narrowed the source of the “big bangs” down to one or two properties off West Hill Road.
“We’ve had anonymous tips from townspeople that have helped us zero in on the source and location,” Montgomery said. “People don’t want to give their names for fear of retribution. After all, we are talking about explosives.”
He said the Killington Police Dept. is very close to apprehending the responsible party.
It is illegal to buy, possess, or shoot off fireworks in Vermont without a permit. Even if these explosives turn out to be some kind of super fireworks, Montgomery said, the perpetrators will be afoul of the law.
“Killington doesn’t have a town-specific noise ordinance, but the people setting these devices off will have violated the state ordinance called ‘Noise in the Nighttime.’ Some of the explosions have occurred during daylight hours.
“In any case, the people responsible will have crossed into criminal territory,” he said. Depending on what material has been used, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives may become involved, the chief indicated.
“I think it’s good that people want to celebrate the Fourth and have a good time,” Montgomery said, “but they need to be respectful of people and animals while celebrating. And setting off large explosives isn’t the right way to do it.”