The blasting of a tree stump on a Rusk County pasture rattled windows for miles around Sunday, but the boom heard across the area – and well beyond – likely came from a different source.
Local dispatchers were inundated with calls following the sound of an explosion at approximately 7:37 p.m. Feb. 18.
“It was tannerite,” Rusk County Sheriff’s Office Sgt. David Roberts confirmed Sunday. “Guys blew up some tannerite is all it was.”
Reportedly, the group used just a little less than the 50-pound legal limit for the explosive substance to destroyed a stump on land near Lake Cherokee.
“I don’t know (how much), but it had to be a lot,” Roberts said. “It’s perfectly legal.”
After seeing a flood of chatter on social media, a member of the group called the sheriff’s office to pinpoint the source of the blast.
It was a simple enough answer, but Roberts – and many others in the area – weren’t entirely convinced, not considering how far the reported sound wave traveled.
Following Sunday evening’s boom, “We received calls from west of Shreveport, Smith County and Jacksonville,” Roberts said. The first report came in at 7:44 p.m. and many others ollowed.
He was hard-pressed to believe the tannerite blast could be heard as far as Lindale or across the state line into Louisiana.
On Tuesday, Roberts confirmed RCSO received a subsequent call from an agent with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco & Firearms in Dallas who reported the loudest noise heard throughout this area was likely caused by a high-powered, high-flying plane that broke the sound barrier over the Gulf of Mexico – almost simultaneously with the stump’s demise.
“It happened about the same time,” Roberts said, “within a few minutes, even, as the tannerite.”
The resulting sonic boom was reported across several states.