Federal investigator looking into explosion that led to hospitalization of Lawrence man

A federal investigator is assisting Douglas County Sheriff’s officers in an investigation after a 31-year-old Lawrence man was injured Tuesday evening when a material exploded at a rural Baldwin City residence.

Emergency dispatchers on Tuesday night said it was initially reported that a homemade firework exploded in the man’s hand.

Sgt. Steve Lewis, a sheriff’s spokesman, said deputies were called at 6:15 p.m. to a medical emergency after the man had received burns after an explosion at a relative’s residence in the 1000 block of North 680 Road. A family member was driving the man to Lawrence Memorial Hospital but stopped in the 3100 block of Iowa to call for an ambulance. The man was taken to LMH and has been transferred to Kansas University Hospital in Kansas City, Kan., for treatment.

Lewis said on Wednesday morning that deputies have interviewed the man and family members both at the hospital and the residence. A Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives agent also responded and assisted with the investigation at the residence.

“Various items were taken as evidence,” Lewis said.

A 22-year-old rural Baldwin City woman made the initial report, and sheriff’s officers are investigating it as a criminal use of explosives case. Lewis said officers would forward results of the investigation to Douglas County District Attorney Charles Branson’s office for a decision about any charges that could be filed. A spokeswoman for Branson said Wednesday said the office did not comment about matters under review.