Sulphur Police investigating tannerite as cause of loud boom

(Source: Erica Bivens/KPLC)
(Source: Erica Bivens/KPLC)

SULPHUR, LA (KPLC) - Lots of viewers told KPLC last night they heard a loud boom all over the Lake Area. Some say they didn't just hear it, they also felt it.

What we do know is that it wasn't a facility or plant issue, according to OEP officials. It also wasn't a hazardous situation as Louisiana State Police were not called out.

Now, Sulphur Police are leading the investigation, which they say is ongoing.

"9:25 last night, kids had just finally laid down and all a sudden there's this huge boom, sounded like it was in the backyard," explained Cindy Jacobs.

Jacobs backyard is Superior Steel, so she says it's not unusual to hear loud noises, even at night, "because sometimes metal in the will fall over and you'll hear a rumbling."

But the noise from Wednesday was completely different.

"It wasn't just like 'oh' it was like, this just rocked the house!" said Jacobs.

Another neighbor, Triston McMillin, says he's never heard or felt anything quite like that last night.

Reports of the boom came from all over the lake area. So just what caused it?

"The initial investigation leads us to believe it was possibly tannerite, but the investigation still ongoing," said Sgt. Jason Gully with Sulphur Police.

So what is tannerite?

Action Arms manager, Tony Baccigalopi, says it's, "A binary explosive, it's got two powders that you mix together right before you're ready to shoot it."

Baccigalopi says it's a reactive target - meaning it explodes when you shoot it.

"Once you mix it up, it takes a high impact to cause it to explode. Something like a rifle projectile," said Baccigalopi.

And buying tannerite is completely legal. In fact, many shops, including Action Arms in Sulphur readily sell it. While there's no restriction on how much you can purchase, you might get questioned if you're trying to buy in bulk.

But ultimately, it's the consumer's responsibility.

"There are disclaimers on the product that need to be read and understood. And they can do some serious damage if you abuse them," cautioned Baccigalopi.

Could tannerite be the cause of Wednesday's loud explosion?


Tannerite experts say it would take a whole lot to copy Wednesday's effect. Plus, there should be some damage.

"You start mixing up a pound or more, it will start leaving holes in the ground," said Baccigalopi.

Police are investigating private property next to Superior Steel, so we weren't able to look. However, Sgt. Gully says, "The property owner of that location is out of town at this time, and we're waiting until he gets back to try and get some more information."

Until then, neighbors remain bewildered.

"We come from California earthquakes and it was close to a 5.9 earthquake, or bigger, it was huge," said Jacobs.

Neighbors say they're thankful it wasn't more serious, but they'd still like a solid answer as to what exactly caused that noise.

KPLC will keep you updated with the Sulphur Police Investigation.

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