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2010 fatal blast ruled an accident
Thursday, September 20, 2012
The 2010 blast that killed one man and injured another was ruled an accident, and no charges will be filed.
“It was tragic, but nobody intended for anyone to be hurt. No one intended for anyone to be killed,” Henry County Fire Marshall Rodney Howell said of the October 2010 blast in Axton.
Michael Rafael Venable, 25, and Marcus Shawn Chism, 26, were burning wood in the 3200 block of Hobson Road when the blaze got into a nearby smokehouse, fire officials have said.
Venable later died as a result of the explosion that occurred shortly thereafter, officials said.
Chism was treated at the hospital and released, according to previous reports.
Investigators found an 8-inch-long device at the scene that appeared to be a short missile, according to previous reports.
Found about 50 feet from the shed where the explosion occurred, the device had a peaked nose and threads where it apparently screwed on top of an explosive shell, fire officials have said. The shell was what exploded, and pieces of its casing were found at the scene.
The device normally would have been shot out of artillery.
Local and state officials worked on the investigation with military experts from Fort Belvoir, Va., according to previous reports. The military later handled the investigation.
Howell said he did not know the conclusions reached in that report, but he does not think state or local charges will be filed in connection with the case.
“We put together a file and conducted interviews here and in North Carolina. We took the file and gave it to the commonwealth’s attorney” who determined there was insufficient evidence for charges, Howell said.
“There was no malicious intent,” Howell said. “It was an accident.”