Hastings Police Release Identity Of Explosion Victim, Likely Cause Of Blast


Courtesy Hastings PD

        Hastings police say the man who was killed early Sunday morning by one or more explosions inside his home was illegally making and storing homemade fireworks or “destructive devices.”

      The body of 52-year-old Jeffery Ponder was found by firefighters in the debris. Ponder owned the house and lived there with 2 other people who were gone at the time of the explosions.

     Hastings Police and Fire and Rescue responded to the address Dec 17 around 3:15 a-m after a 911 call reporting an explosion in a  house. 

     A second explosion occurred shortly after the responders had arrived and was followed by multiple secondary explosions. Police say all the blasts were likely the result of explosive devices. 

      They also say that although the case is an ongoing criminal investigation, they believe the initial explosion and the rest were accidental. 

     Investigators have determined Ponder was illegally making and storing his own destructive devices within his property, but say there is no indication he had intentions to use them as weapons against other persons or property

      The explosions caused the house to collapse with a majority of the first floor falling into the basement. The Hastings Street Department and a private construction company had to use heavy machinery to remove debris so the area could be searched safely.

       The Hastings Police Department posted on its Facebook page that “Social Media is an excellent platform to be able to disseminate information quickly but can also be a place for very hurtful comments during difficult times.”

       The department asked “everyone to please be respectful to the family and friends of Mr Ponder as they mourn the loss of their loved one.”