ST. GEORGE – Explosions in the small town of Panaca, Nevada, Wednesday evening are confirmed to have left one person dead and another injured, according to media reports.
The Lincoln County Record reports that around 8 p.m., Wednesday, two explosions occurred in the area of 5th Street.
Panaca, Nevada, is located over 100 miles north of Las Vegas and 81 miles west of Cedar City.
One of the explosions originated from a car bomb that appears to have killed the suspected car bomber.
Resident Ken Thornock told the Las Vegas Review-Journal that the first blast broke windows in homes across the community and scattered debris over a wide area. A second blast followed.
Video of firefighters responding to the fire triggered by the explosions can be found on Fox 13 News.
The first explosion sounded like it came from the back of someone’s home, while the second explosion obliterated the car, Thornock said.
“The car that blew up was unrecognizable,” Thornock said.
Lincoln County Sheriff Kerry Lee said the incident appeared to involve a disgruntled employee who worked at the Grover C. Dils Medical Center in nearby Caliente, Nevada, according to the Las Vegas Review-Journal.
Local, state and federal authorities, including the FBI and Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives, are currently on scene investigating the incident.
“My neighbor says there’s a 3-foot crater where the car was parked,” resident Richard Katschke said to The Associated Press. “The car is in pieces around town.”
Katschke said he and his wife, Karen, were just beginning prayers when the blasts shook their home. He said one couple reported a chunk of wreckage crashing through their roof more than two blocks away.
“The sound was just horrendous. It was really quite a force,” said Jeanett McCrosky, who lives about a block away. She said her house shook and a light fixture fell from the ceiling.
Dave Free, who lives a block away, said he had broken windows, car parts in his driveway and shrapnel next to his horse feeder. The animals and his grandchildren, who feed the horses, escaped injury.
“It could have (been) a real bad deal,” he said.
Katschke said he attends The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints with the family of five who lived in the house that was damaged. The husband is a former hospital official and his wife is a nurse at Grover C. Dils Medical Center. They have three daughters ranging in age from about 8 to 12, Katschke said.
“We’re a close community,” Katschke said. “This kind of thing, it’ll pull this community together.”
Learning of the explosions, Nevada Gov. Bryan Sandoval said Thursday that he is committed to assisting those involved and the community as they respond to the incident.
“Due to the early reports, I have directed the Director of the Department of Public Safety Jim Wright and Chief of Emergency Management Caleb Cage to travel to the site to monitor the situation and deliver periodic updates to my office,” Sandoval said.
“I will be in contact with Lincoln County officials this morning and will offer any and all additional state resources available should the local law enforcement and first responder community require them,” the governor said.
Authorities have yet to identify the person killed in the car blast.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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