SunRiver residents report cracked windows after Air Force training exercises

Navy personnel from the Electronic Attack Squadron-139 perform maintenance checks before a training sortie during a Red Flag exercise in which integration of Air Force, Marines and Navy aircraft work together to deter air and ground threats as well as prepare for future operations down range, Nevada, July 14, 2016 | Photo by and courtesy of U.S. Air Force Senior Airman Jake Carter, St. George News

ST. GEORGE — The training exercises by airmen from Nellis Air Force Base in Southern Utah have rattled residents in recent days, but some SunRiver residents apparently felt the boom up close and personal with reports of cracked windows.

A cracked window in the home of Charles Rose at SunRiver, St. George, Utah, Dec. 5, 2016 | Photo by Joseph Witham, St. George News
A cracked window in the home of Charles Rose at SunRiver, St. George, Utah, Dec. 5, 2016 | Photo by Joseph Witham, St. George News

“All of the sudden you hear this boom, and then all the sudden it cracks,” Charles Rose, SunRiver resident of two years, said.

Rose and his wife were in their living room one evening when he said the house rattled as an airplane flew above their home. A cracking noise led him to inspect his windows. A window facing into his backyard had a vertical crack in the glass running the length of the window.

“There’s a few people in this area that have received cracked windows,” Rose said.

He mentioned the experience to some of his golfing buddies, also SunRiver residents, who said they, too, noticed cracked windows after the rattle of overhead military aircraft.

The booming noise produces visible vibrations in the windows, Rose said.

They rattle, they flex, they vibrate.”

The boom-shake-and-rattle has been more apparent than ever for Rose, who reported Tuesday feeling “two large, long blasts that rattled the whole house.”

“I’m not saying it can’t happen, but I’ve never personally heard of that,” Brad Kitchen, St. George Airport Operations Supervisor, said when asked about the broken window.

“I guess if there’s any kind of shake or sonic boom, it’s possible, yeah.”

However, Kitchen is regularly exposed to the coming and going of military aircraft at the airport, and he said exercises involving Mach speeds are tightly regulated by the military in residential areas.

Kitchen suggested the boom could as easily be a result of mining operations from an adjacent gypsum mine. Rose also mentioned the mine as a possible culprit to the booming noises, but he said it is much more apparent during the military flyovers.

In fact, the Western Minerals mine just south of SunRiver employs tools to mitigate noise from blasts, mine manager Ken Thompson said.

A cracked window in the home of Charles Rose at SunRiver, St. George, Utah, Dec. 5, 2016 | Photo by Joseph Witham, St. George News
A cracked window in the home of Charles Rose at SunRiver, St. George, Utah, Dec. 5, 2016 | Photo by Joseph Witham, St. George News

“It’s not breaking sound barriers or breaking windows,” he said of the blasts.

“We use them all over in residential areas.”

Thompson said he has received complaints before but he said Western Minerals has gone lengths to ensure the blasts do not disturb residents.

“We’re not trying to break anybody’s windows; we’re trying to be good corporate citizens.”

One particularly skeptical neighbor was brought to the mine to observe and hear the blast up close, Thompson said, and upon detonation, the blast didn’t even register on the measuring instrument, whereas hitting the ground with a shovel did register.

“It’s easy to blame somebody else,” Thompson said.

And the blame seems more likely to lie with the Air Force in this case, according to Rose, who said he isn’t looking to get some kind of compensation for the window.

“You’re not going to take them to court and have them buy a window,” Rose said.

Luckily, the window is in a spot that allows for easy replacement.

Email: jwitham@stgnews.com

Twitter: @STGnews

Copyright St. George News, SaintGeorgeUtah.com LLC, 2016, all rights reserved.

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6 Comments

  • Bender December 9, 2016 at 8:24 am

    At 1pm on Thursday December 8, the gypsum mine let loose with a really big boomer. I was on the west side of town and it shook me. I could see that one cracking a window in sun river.

    • DB December 9, 2016 at 3:37 pm

      Yep, I’m thinking gypsum mine but don’t know for sure, of course. Sonic booms, which we have also had of late, are heard over a broad area. Why Sun River and not Bloomington, for example?

  • mmsandie December 9, 2016 at 8:50 am

    I hear the booms so often, lucky I don,t live in sun River

  • sagemoon December 9, 2016 at 9:11 am

    My conspiracy theory remains firm: those are not sonic booms. They are testing bombs in the desert.

  • wilbur December 9, 2016 at 9:21 am

    This is horrible !!!!

    Avoid living in Sun River area, if at all possible.

  • .... December 9, 2016 at 5:07 pm

    It’s Obamas fault !

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