That Boom on Tuesday? It Was NOT a House Exploding

Crime / Sep. 28, 2017 9:13am EDT

By Sandy Vondrasek

Shortly after 11:30 on Tuesday morning, a Randolph woman called The Herald to say she was sitting outside, looking west towards the Brookfield ridge, when she heard an explosion followed by a cloud of smoke shooting up into the air.

Shortly afterwards, the Brookfield Fire Department was dispatched to a report of a home explosion on Ridge Road—with no address given.

After rumbling up and down Ridge Road and side roads and finding zero evidence of an explosion, Brookfield firefighters stopped at the gravel quarry on Ridge Road in Randolph, operated by R.E. Tucker, Inc. of Northfield.

Could that have been a quarry blast, they asked?

Yes, it was, Ron Tucker, quarry operator, told The Herald yesterday.

He has been doing periodic blasting at the quarry since it opened a few years ago, Tucker said, and nothing like this has ever happened before.

What is even more curious, he added, is that Tuesday’s blast was considerably smaller than the norm at the quarry. All of the blasting done there falls “well within” his permitted limits, he said. Also, everyone on a notification list is contacted prior to all blasts.

Recent dry conditions may have resulted in more dust than usual, he said, but not sound, which tends to be louder in damp conditions and with low cloud cover.

This smaller blast may have snagged more public attention, he said, because operations at the quarry are now shifting south— downhill and towards I-89—possibly making the sound and the dust plume more visible to points west.

Tuesday’s incident has resulted in a new protocol, Tucker said. The Barre dispatch office—which tones out Brookfield firefighters—is now on the pre-blast notification list.

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