An explosion seriously injures a Winona high school student. He was working with gunpowder in a building next to the school, apparently for a sanctioned class project.
Shrapnel was sent more than 50 yards away, through the walls of the metal building. The blast happened around 9:40a.m. in a maintenance building next to Winona elementary school.
Seventeen year old Jonathon Strength was badly hurt when the small pipe filled with black powder exploded. He lost parts of his left hand, but is expected to be all right.
The ATF has been able to find out from the teacher who sanctioned the project, the boy was supposed to make a small cannon, instead the pipe that exploded was capped on both ends.
The force of the blast was incredible. One of the metal end caps to the pipe was blown in two. Other parts went clean through the metal walls, thankfully not toward a nearby playground.
There is no indication Jonathon Strength intended to take this to class, and the ATF says they are confident other students did not have dangerous devices today.
Clay Alexander, Tyler agent-in-charge of the ATF, said, "There's no indication of that, the chances are the student was trying to modify his project to do something better than it was designed to do and we're just going to try to figure out exactly what was going on with that."
As far as the gunpowder used to cause this explosion, Agent Alexander said making black powder was part of Jonathon's project, not something they recommend.
The criminal investigation is over. The ATF said you can make gunpowder from materials found in a science lab, but who mixed it up hasn't been released.