A suspicious blast that leveled a home brought the FBI, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms, and explosive-detecting dogs to rural Pennsylvania on Tuesday, after the explosion killed a man who was due in court that day and injured two other people.
The explosion in Clearfield Township happened Tuesday just before 9 a.m., when Bradley Kollar, 40, was supposed to be sentenced in the county court for pleading guilty to drug charges. Instead, investigators arrived at the scene to find Kollar dead, and a homeowner and his teenage son injured, said Pennsylvania State Trooper John Matchik.
"Upon arrival, [state police] found a two-story house completely leveled, with the homeowner trapped inside the rubble," Matchik said. "The remnants of a vehicle were recognized in front of the house. From a preliminary sense, the damage appeared to originate from that vehicle."
The ATF is still investigating what types of materials were involved in the device that was detonated from Kollar's truck, which investigators believe Kollar drove up to the home before detonating the explosive device Tuesday morning. The FBI, explosives experts and local fire departments are also assisting in the investigation.
Kollar, of Hastings, Pa., was a "known acquaintance" of William Shaner, 44, the homeowner, Matchik said. Investigators believe Kollar called Shaner before driving to his house with explosives, but it's not clear what may have transpired in their conversation.
"It may have been a threat," Matchik said. "The explosion appears to be an intentional act."
Shaner and his teenage son, whose identity was not made public, were hospitalized after the explosion, which was felt by residents in the remote area for several miles around. Shaner's son has been released; Shaner is still in intensive care but is expected to survive.
The area remained closed off Wednesday afternoon. Residents will likely be able to come back in the evening.
"The only thing I can state about the explosion itself was it was quite significant," Matchik said. "The true nature of that explosive device is yet to be determined, and that's going to take a significant analysis by the lab from the ATF to find out exactly what materials we're looking at or how that device may have been configured and how it was actually detonated."
The Cambria County coroner, Dennis Kwiatkowski, confirmed Kollar's death was ruled a suicide.
"It almost looked as if the house was a gas explosion at first," Kwiatkowski said of the scene Tuesday. "Then we found out there were other circumstances."
Clearfield Township, which is in Cambria County, is about 80 miles east of Pittsburgh.