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BROOKFIELD Officials still seek answers in explosion



Published: Fri, July 6, 2001 @ 12:00 a.m.



Investigators were not able to speak to one of the men injured in the blast.

By PEGGY SINKOVICH

VINDICATOR TRUMBULL STAFF

BROOKFIELD -- Investigators with the state fire marshal's office say they still don't know what type of explosive caused a crater in the ground at 759 Albright-McKay Road N.E. and injured two 19-year-old men.

The victims were taken by helicopter to Pittsburgh hospitals.

Bill Teets, a fire marshal's spokesman, said investigators told him the device was "bigger than a consumer class firework."

"The investigators are still talking to people and trying to determine what happened," Teets said.

Injuries: Jason Nicoloff of 447 Butterfly Lane, Hermitage, was in stable condition in Allegheny General Hospital with multiple injuries to his face, arms and legs. Officials said the blast threw him about 10 feet. Nicoloff was in surgery Thursday, officials said.

Luke Forrest of Saranac Drive, Sharpsville, who suffered facial injuries, was in stable condition in Mercy Hospital. Forrest declined to comment.

A township fire official and fire marshal's investigatorswent to Pittsburgh Thursday to talk to the two men. Officials said they did talk to Forrest but were not able to speak to Nicoloff.

Brookfield fire Capt. Mike Hapgood said Nicoloff had very severe injuries to one arm and leg.

The blast occurred at 10:26 p.m. Wednesday, during a young people's backyard party. Occupants of the home could not be reached to comment.

Hapgood said firefighters were able to hear the blast at the department on state Route 7, which 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.

Investigation: Officials from the state fire marshal's office, township firefighters and police went to the residence Thursday morning and sealed part of the back yard.

Robert Sharp, an investigator with the state fire marshal, said tests will be performed to try to determine what was in the device. Sharp said he did not know how long it will take for the tests to be conducted.

Police Chief Dan Faustino said his department is assisting the fire department.

"If any charges are to be filed, it will be the state fire marshal's office that will do that," Faustino said.




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