At 6:01pm last evening (10-20-2019) the Richland Co Dispatch Center received calls of an explosion being heard and felt by residents in the city and north. Reports indicated houses from the Allison Park area through the Hub City area shook from the blast.
Sheriff’s Deputies responded to try and locate the incident. Within minutes, a deputy traveling just north of the city of Richland Center reported a large plume of smoke north and west of his location, possibly between County Hwy A and State Hwy 56. It was then Richland Center Fire was paged and asked to respond. As emergency crews traveled north, the smoke dissipated and made it harder to locate.
Several more calls from citizens trying to help pin point the blast poured into the dispatch center. Deputies from the Sheriff’s Department, a WI State Patrol Trooper, an Officer from the Richland Center Police Dept. and Richland Center Fire units combed the area north and west of the city for almost an hour.
At around 6:50pm, a citizen met with authorities and directed them to the source of the blast, which was located at the address of 22855 Cty DD, in a wooded area on top of the ridge. Law Enforcement Officials drove up the ridge and made contact with a subject identified as Jacob A. Busser, 22 of Lodi. The property is owned by his father, and was the location of a field party.
After speaking with Busser, it was learned that approximately 10 lbs of tannerite, which is a highly explosive material used commonly in shooting targets, had been set up and shot at with a firearm. That action detonated the entire 10lbs of material at once, causing the enormous blast. The blast was reported from a large area of the county, as calls reporting or inquiring about the incident were logged from Sextonville to Gillingham to Snow Valley as well as the City of Richland Center.
No injuries were reported. Richland County Sheriff’s Department Chief Deputy Chad Kanable stated he was relieved no one was injured or killed from the blast and thanks the many citizens and emergency personnel who assisted with the incident. He stated it is legal to possess tannerite and like anything it can be safe when used properly and used for intended purposes. Last evenings actions exceeded those purposes.
The incident is being forwarded to the Richland County District Attorney’s Office for possible charges and remains under investigation.