‘It was like a grenade going off’: Man inside gun range describes explosion

‘It was like a grenade going off’: Man inside gun range describes explosion
Published: Sep. 18, 2023 at 12:26 AM EDT
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WILMINGTON, N.C. (WECT) - Michael Elliot says he was in Range Time Guns & Outfitting on Sunday afternoon when there was an explosion.

“It was like a grenade going off,”Elliot said. “It was like a big boom, and then like a little boom.”

Elliot was there with his dad when he says they started to notice a crack getting bigger on the floor inside the range.

“All of a sudden, you see this big giant orange smoke, just, it’s like a smoke bomb went off, and you could hear it. And then it just went white and [it was] just loud. I mean, it was, you couldn’t see what was going on. You [couldn’t] hear [anything] for a minute. And then we all get out, we all rush out and make sure everybody’s okay,” Elliot said. “I mean, it was bad. It was loud.”

Elliot says all he could smell was gun powder and there were pieces of concrete flying everywhere, hitting his hand and landing in their bags.

“There was like four inches of concrete flipped over like pancakes,” Elliot said. “It looks like we went to the beach with a gun bag with all that we collected, it was crazy.”

WFD Battalion Chief Greg Fix says crews are still working to determine what actually exploded.

A spokesperson for WFD said Piedmont Gas was on the scene.

“The range itself will probably be closed down for quite some time. Now there’s damage to concrete flooring that was in the shooting range area. Besides that, the rest of the building is still in good shape. They’ll have to get an engineer out here and maybe someone to look at some of the utilities,” Fix said.

No injuries were reported on the scene, though Elliot says a few hours after leaving the gun range he still had a bad headache and ringing in his ears, so he and his dad went to urgent care just to be safe.

“I have a small little puncture in my eardrum. And my dad has a small concussion.”

He says he’s thankful that they’re required to wear both ear and eye protection there because he says it could’ve been much worse for everyone there.

“It’s one of those things you’re going to talk about for the rest of my life, like it’s. . . I’ll never forget it,” Elliot said.