Explosion hurts 2 men, leaves crater

An investigator said the blast was heard for miles.
BROOKFIELD -- Fire investigators think it was a homemade explosive that left a crater in the ground at 759 Albright-McKay Road N.E. Wednesday night and injured two 19-year-old men, both of whom were taken by helicopter to Pittsburgh hospitals.
Jason Nicoloff of 447 Butterfly Lane, Hermitage, was upgraded to stable condition this morning in Allegheny General Hospital with multiple injuries to his face, arms and legs. Officials said the blast threw him about 10 feet.
Luke Forrest of Saranac Drive, Sharpsville, who suffered facial injuries, was in stable condition in Mercy Hospital.
Brookfield fire Capt. Mike Hapgood said Nicoloff had very severe injuries to one arm and leg.
What authorities found: "When we got to the scene we were told that Mr. Forrest was bleeding very badly from his face and got into his car and left. We found Mr. Nicoloff lying in the back yard. He was in a lot of pain, and all he could say was, 'This exploded.'" Hapgood said.
The captain said investigators do not think the device was commercially produced. He wasn't sure this morning what materials were in it.
Robert Sharp of the state fire marshal's office was at the scene this morning with other investigators.
Party going on: The blast occurred at 10:26 p.m. during a young people's backyard party. The adult occupants of the residence were not home at the time and other partygoers were not outside, Hapgood said.
The blast was heard for miles.
"We were standing outside the fire station, and we heard the explosion," Hapgood said. The fire department, on state Route 7, is about three miles from the residence.
Forrest drove himself to Sharon Regional Health Center; Nicoloff was taken by ambulance. They were flown to Pittsburgh from there.
Officials from the state fire marshal's office, township firefighters and police went to the residence this morning and sealed part of the back yard.
Tests to be done: They said they need to do some testing to try to determine what was in the device.
"We also want to talk to the men when they are able," Hapgood said.
Police Chief Dan Faustino said his department is assisting the fire department. He did not know this morning if criminal charges would be filed.
Occupants of the residence could not be reached this morning.

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