The Boom Heard Round East Texas
Citizens of East Texas were "gifted" a loud boom on Christmas Day around 9pm. I heard it, and it sounded like my entire block was being bombed. I immediately knew it was tannerite. I was first introduced to this binary explosive on Top Shot, the show local Dustin Ellermann won in 2011 Season 3. It's hard to believe that was almost ten years ago now. Now instead of using the substance for an indication you hit a target very far away, people are using them for recreation.
This time of year, just like on the 4th of July, fireworks go on sale. People use them to celebrate Christmas and the New Year with a bang. Perfectly legal in certain parts of the county. Local Municipalities, like Lufkin, don't allow fireworks within the city limits. Houses in a densely populated area are just too close together, and fire dangers from them are real.
This boom was entirely different. Tannerite is being used to celebrate more often. Tannerite is the commercial name for the product, and they are the patent holder for many exploding targets, that come in kits. Since around the year 2000, when the first shipments when out, it has continued to grow in popularity. People are using it for everything from gender reveals to divorce wedding dress blow-outs.
The ATF doesn't regulate these "kits" because until you mix them together, they aren't explosive. There isn't really anything you can do, and they are going to get more and more frequent. The only saving grace is that it's about ten dollars a pound, cheaper if you make the ingredients yourself. Rumors are that the blast we heard was about 50lbs.
It's not illegal for a person to make this explosive in their home, as long as it's recreational. To make it go off, you shoot it with a center fire rifle, and the bullet must be traveling at a minimum of 2100 FPS. They even have versions that will go off with a 22lr bullet. Tannerite is a substance that could become illegal, just like a firearm if it takes someone's life. If you set off a large amount, like what happened here, you could be liable for damages.
I left a lot of rumors out of this story, details like how far and where it was heard will only add to the issue. What did you think when you heard this loud boom?