Witness recounts devastation after pair of bombs leave one dead in Nevada

Posted at 10:04 PM, Jul 14, 2016
and last updated 2016-07-15 00:04:17-04

PANACA, Nev. – One person was killed after two bombs exploded in Panaca, Nevada Wednesday night, and a witness who recorded footage of the aftermath spoke about the devastation.

Dennis Sanders and his wife Danette were eating dinner Wednesday night when they heard a loud boom.

“At first we thought it may have been lightning, and then we looked out the window and there was a big plume of smoke coming off from this side of town,” Dennis Sanders said.

Sanders said he went over to see if anyone needed help, and he started shooting video on his phone.

“When we got close and I saw the mangled pile in the street, I thought it was a car bomb, but I dismissed that idea because: not here,” Sanders said.

But, it did happen here. Sheriff Kerry Lee of Lincoln County confirmed two bombs exploded just before 8 p.m. One went off inside a home while the other detonated inside a car.

“This is a huge blast,” Lee said. “This isn’t a pipe bomb that was made by a kid and put in the mailbox. This is substantial. This is huge. This is a blast more like you’d see in Iraq or Afghanistan. It’s devastating. It’s amazing the devastation over there.”

Cherie Whitney and her family live about 10 miles away and didn’t hear the blast, but they have been hearing about the devastation all day.

“There are baseball sized holes in people's houses,” Whitney said. “There are two houses across town, shrapnel fell through the roof onto their dining room table.”

More than 30 homes had to be evacuated, and debris spread out a mile away from the explosion—breaking windows and significantly damaging four homes nearby.

Considering the damage, this tight-knit community is grateful more people weren't hurt.

"Lots of people were walking around with their kids, and a bomb went off, and no one was hurt except for him: It’s a miracle,” Whitney said.

In this small town, there are a lot of questions about who the suspect is and the story behind these explosions. At this point, the sheriff’s department is not confirming the identity of the person killed.

Lee told the Lincoln County Record: "We think that the deceased was probably our suspect, but at this time we have not been able to identify him."