ATF continues to investigate Grandview explosion, says it’s found evidence of fireworks manufacturing

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GRANDVIEW, Mo. -- Federal, state and local investigators continue to search for the cause of a massive explosion in Grandview on Tuesday night, and say they've found evidence that fireworks were being manufactured at the now destroyed JW's Lawn and Garden Equipment.

Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms spokesman John Ham says they've found the necessary chemicals for fireworks in containers, and are still trying to find the source of ignition. He says they're moving slowly and cautiously, as the components of fireworks remain extremely volatile, even when soaked with water or covered in ice.

"Our debris field is considerable for a building this size," said ATF Agent John Ham. "There was a significant event. We just have to figure out what caused it."

Ham says they've also brought in vacuum truck to suck out water from the foundation, and as they remove the water, more is being revealed to investigators. He added that the owner of the business is not a licensed fireworks manufacturer, and they will need to talk with him more if it's confirmed that fireworks were the cause.

While nearly 50 people were displaced from a nearby apartment complex, Ham says that it's exceptionally fortunate that no one was hurt or killed.

“Regardless of what we find, and regardless of what the cause, the nature of that explosion by itself, to have an explosion that leaves this big of a debris field and does this much damage, and is heard for – I mean, we’re getting reports from Stilwell that people there heard it – that no one was injured, we’re a hundred yards off a major interstate. (It's) a testament to the smart, quick action of the Grandview Fire Department for getting in there. These firemen and women, they’re unsung heroes, folks,” Ham said. “We’re fortunate. We’re extremely fortunate.”

Image courtesy of FOX 4 viewer Melissa Spotz.

Image courtesy of FOX 4 viewer Melissa Spotz.

We will have live updates from the scene of the explosion on FOX 4 News at 5 and 6.