A 50-year-old man blew off one of his hands while making explosives inside his northwestern Wisconsin home, authorities say.
The incident occurred Tuesday night on property west of Cushing in Sterling Township, according to the Polk County Sheriff’s Office.
Deputies arrived at the house in the 2700 block of Evergreen Avenue and confirmed initial information provided to emergency dispatch that the man had “blown his hand off,” a Sheriff’s Office statement read. He also had burns elsewhere on his body.
The man is recovering at Regions Hospital in St. Paul, said Chief Sheriff’s Deputy Chad Roberts. A hospital spokeswoman said Eric Schueller was in good condition Thursday.
Bomb technicians said there were chemicals inside and outside of the home that were stable when separated but would produce explosive material when mixed.
Authorities have yet to reveal what Schueller intended to do with the explosives or what substances he was handling. However, emergency dispatch audio indicated that Schueller was trying to make gunpowder.
“My wife said she did hear a bang or whatever,” said Jim Wilson, who lives nearby. “The LifeLink helicopter ended up landing on our farm.” Wilson said the fire chief “asked me if I felt OK because three or four of the first responders had been sick” since the incident.
Cushing Fire Chief Merle Larson confirmed that a few first responders got sick after the incident.
Roberts said his agency has been to the home before but “not for anything like this.”
The FBI is assisting the Sheriff’s Office in the investigation.