PARKERSBURG, W.Va. (WTAP) - Update: 9/09/2019
The explosion of a homemade device during the 2018 Parkersburg Homecoming results the conviction of a man police say set off the device.
Noah Hitchcock was sentenced Monday to 2-10 years in prison, on a charge of wanton endangerment involving destructive devices or explosive material, to which he previously pleaded.
UPDATE: 8/28/18 11:30 P.M.
A man hospitalized after a homemade explosive device went off a few blocks from the the start of the Parkersburg Homecoming parade is in jail facing charges.
Parkersburg police arrested Noah Hitchcock, 33, on Sunday, following his release from Cabell Huntington Hospital where he was treated for an ear injury and powder burns to his extremities.
He's in the North Central Regional Jail on a $200,000 bond following his arraignment in Wood County Magistrate Court. Charges against him include felony possession of an explosive device and wanton endangerment with an explosive device.
A criminal complaint filed filed in magistrate court alleges that Hitchcock intentionally set off the homemade device outside a residence at 512 17th St. on Aug. 18.
Three people were nearby when the device went, and one of them, a U.S. Postal Service employee, was hit by debris but not seriously injured.
According to the complaint, Hitchcock told authorities he had no particular reason for detonating the device, which he said he had kept in a backpack.
He told authorities his first attempt to light the device failed but that it went off when he lit it a second time.
At about 12:12 this afternoon Parkersburg Police and Fire Departments responded to a call made by a postal service worker regarding an explosion.
The worker was hit by debris from the explosion but not seriously injured.
First responders were able to respond quickly because of the close proximity of the incident to the Homecoming parade.
There was a man on the scene with injuries to his hands and face and he was transported to a hospital in southern West Virginia.
Neighbors in the area reported hearing a loud noise that seemed to shake their homes. The police department strongly feels as though this incident is in no way related to the Homecoming celebration and that the suspect’s intent was not to harm anyone.
“We did collect some evidence related to this crime. We had it analyzed at a different location close to the scene for any chemical based explosives that were not what a typical person could buy off the store shelf. We are able to confidently say that this is not a terrorist act or a nexus to terrorism. Based off of what we found at the scene and what the components were made from as far as the device, basically it was just a homemade firecracker that had a much more powerful result than what was intended,” explains Joe Martin, Parkersburg Police Chief.
The suspect is a local resident of Parkersburg and has a criminal history here in Wood County. He also has family ties to this area.
The suspect will be arrested after being released from the hospital.
The Parkersburg Fire Department, St. Joseph’s ambulance service, the Department of Homeland Security, West Virginia Fusion Center, West Virginia State Police Special Operations, West Virginia National Guard Civil Support Team, and the FBI all assisted with the incident.
ORIGINAL STORY: 8/18/18 12:45 p.m.
Authorities in Parkersburg are at the scene of a reported explosion at a residence in the 500 block of 17th Street.
Multiple law-enforcement officers, including a bomb technician, are at the scene investigating.
The source of the explosion remains unclear.
It happened about 12:15 p.m. Saturday as many participants in the annual Parkersburg Homecoming parade were already lined up next to Stadium Field just a few blocks away.
People at the scene reported hearing a loud explosion and then seeing a person on the ground in front of a house.
At least one person near the scene said the blast shook their house.
We have a reporter at the scene and will have updates online and during WTAP News @ 6.