An improvised explosive device made from a lighter went off and injured three people when a man at an estate sale picked it up, police said Friday.
Additional components and explosive substances were found in a search of the house in the 700 block of Nakomi Drive where the estate sale was being held, said Lexington police Lt. Nathaniel Muller.
He said the IED and all the material found belonged to the man whose estate was being sold, who he declined to name. Muller described him as “a hobbyist, an explosive hobbyist.”
The house was last owned by William Schooler, according to Fayette County Property Valuation Administrator records. He died July 8 at the age of 57, according to an obituary.
Muller said police don’t think the IED was intentionally placed, and no charges are expected.
“It looked exactly like a lighter, and he was picking it up to examine it as a lighter” when the explosion occurred at about 9:15 a.m., Muller said.
Police said the 33-year-old man who picked up the IED sustained significant injuries to his hand and upper body. Another man had a cut on his leg, and a woman had a concussion-like injury.
The damage to the house was contained to one room, Muller said.
Two neighboring homes were temporarily evacuated for safety while additional components and explosive substances were removed from the home and detonated inside a total containment vessel. Those other items were not legal, Muller said. He said the only finished IED that officials found was the one that exploded.
The FBI, Kentucky State Police and Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives assisted local police and fire in the investigation. The Red Cross and Lexington Emergency Management also responded. Authorities expected to wrap up work at the house and leave by about 5 p.m.