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ATF collects evidence from St. Joseph house explosion, agrees it looks like illegal fireworks

ST. JOSEPH, Mo. -- St. Joseph Police have one man in custody related to the explosion that occurred Tuesday at a home in St. Joseph.

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) confirms its agents have cleared the scene after recovering what they believe are components of illegal fireworks.

That was a suspicion neighbors had about the cause of the fire and explosion, which they said sounded like an earthquake and shook every house on the block near Isabelle and Prospect at about 9 a.m. Tuesday morning.

A home blew up near Prospect and Isabelle in St. Joseph Tuesday morning.

One neighbor told FOX 4 News she heard the explosion followed by a woman's screams.

Homeowners on Isabelle Avenue looked on as neighbors helped firefighters pull two men and a woman from that burning home. Police say three people went to the hospital as a result of the explosion. Also, local law enforcement officers tell reporters a toddler lives in that house, but was not home at the time of the blast.

Police haven't released the names of the people living in that house, or an update on their medical condition.

"You can hear it big. You could hear a "boom!" Loud!" said neighbor Carl Parham.

The noise got Carl Parham's attention. He's called this street his home for 54 years, and said he called 911 as soon as the blast was heard.

"I could hear her down there screaming. They were down there screaming, 'there's still people in the house!'" Parham recalled.

Neighbors told FOX 4 News they witnessed the home's residents making their own fireworks.

"You could hear them going off all night," said Shiloh Hoyt.

Shiloh Hoyt lives across the street, which is as close as she's ever wanted to get to that house.

"They put gunpowder in them, I think, to make them louder. You could hear them all the way up the block. When the house exploded, you could hear it all the way up there," Hoyt said.

ATF spokesperson John Ham said the ATF has concluded its investigation and that the St. Joseph Police Department will lead it from here.

Accidents involving homemade fireworks are more common than you might think, Ham said.

"If that is what it is, this will be yet another reminder of why you don't do it. Go to the tent and buy your stuff there. This isn't the way you want to spend your 4th of July," Ham said.