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Man charged with arson threat and reckless endangerment

Court records: Michael Austin Womack said he wanted to blow up his mother's house with her in it

Court records: Michael Austin Womack said he wanted to blow up his mother's house with her in it

October 29, 2009|By DAVE McMILLION

HAGERSTOWN -- A Hagerstown man is charged with arson threat and reckless endangerment after he was seen detonating chemical reaction devices in a local mobile home park and looking at a Web site about building bombs, according to court records.

A witness said Michael Austin Womack, 33, of 18509 Northaven St., blamed his mother for all of his problems and said he wanted to blow up her house with her in it, according to Washington County District Court records.

Womack was being held on $75,000 bond Thursday afternoon at the Washington County Detention Center.

Deputy State Fire Marshal Ed Ernst said he was asked to assist with an incident in which Womack was being evicted from a residence in the Northaven Mobile Home Park along Pennsylvania Avenue north of Hagerstown.

According to court records, Womack became very irate, said no one else was going to live in the home and that he was going to burn it down.

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Ernst wrote in a complaint filed in district court that he went to the mobile home Wednesday and noticed a strong unknown chemical odor when he got out of his vehicle.

"As I entered the mobile home, the chemical odor was so strong that I backed out and retrieved a mask from my vehicle," Ernst wrote.

Ernst wrote that he found cut-up pieces of shotgun shells in the kitchen, then went to a bedroom, where he found several containers of unknown liquids. In three plastic Gatorade bottles, Ernst observed a clear gel that appeared to be causing an unusual amount of pressure, according to the complaint. Ernst wrote that he began unscrewing the cap on one of the bottles and it started making a hissing sound.

A county hazardous materials team called to the scene determined most of the chemicals were acetones and thinners, Ernst wrote.

The gel was determined to be "clear cut," which is used as a cleaning agent in the car repair industry, Ernst wrote.

Witnesses said Womack conducted various procedures and that he ordered a powder known as "white nitro powder" and would mix it with black powder from shotgun shells, according to the complaint.

One witness observed Womack cooking a mixture in a pan one day, and some of the mixture burned through the pan and ignited a gas stove, Ernst wrote.

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