Boy, 15, seriously injured in bomb explosion

(UPDATED: 10:45 a.m. Wednesday) A 15-year-old Grand Haven boy suffered serious injuries Tuesday afternoon when a homemade bomb blew up as he tried to ignite it, said Chief Tom Gerencer of Grand Haven Township Fire/Rescue.
Becky Vargo
Aug 15, 2012


The boy, Jake Sloan, was listed in serious condition this morning at Spectrum Butterworth Hospital in Grand Rapids.

Emergency crews responded to a home in the 12000 block of Lakeshore Drive for the 2:47 p.m. incident.

Gerencer said the boy was in the south side yard of the home when the bomb went off. He was alone at the time, but his sister came out and found him when she heard the explosion.

The boy had wounds to his chest, arms, hands and face, Gerencer said.

Sloan was taken by North Ottawa Community Hospital ambulance to Spectrum Butterworth Hospital in Grand Rapids.

The blast blew open the gate to the back yard, the chief said.

Next-door neighbor, Kelly LaMore, 12182 Lakeshore, said she heard the explosion while she was doing paperwork.

“I thought it was probably a car accident,” she said.

LaMore said she ran outside.

 “It was horrible,” she said. She declined to say any more.

 A couple doors further to the south, Chuck Wierengo was also home at the time.

“It sounded like a big gun going off,” he said. “It shook up the whole neighborhood.”

Wierengo said emergency personnel were already arriving on the scene when he walked over, so he stayed back. He helped another neighbor put the gate back in place once personnel cleared the area.

“There’s too many little kids running around to leave a gate open around a pool,” he said.

Wierengo said he liked the boy, who was injured. He’s a very talented kid who enjoys building and repairing items.

“More so than any kids his age,” he said.

Wierengo fashions and sells walking sticks from his home, and said he’s given sticks to the boy “to make his own.” He didn’t know what the boy was doing at the time of the explosion.

“It’s like any young boy, they try something,” Wierengo said. “They make a mistake and a bad thing happens. It’s not like he’s trying to do anything bad."

Wierengo said Sloan is a good boy.

"He helps anybody who (needs) help in the neighborhood,” he said.

Ottawa County Sheriff’s Sgt. Jon Ditmar said the boy suffered serious burns when some black powder ignited.

The incident remains under investigation, Ditmar said.



I have to admit I did some stupid things as a teenager but I drew the line at high explosives. I hope the young man recovers but I'm curious to know what his intentions for the bomb were.


Gee your grass looks terrific


Are you kidding me? What kind of person leaves a comment like this when something so tragic has happened?

King Ding

your screen name is my2cents and someone can't leave theirs without you ripping them?




Living close to this family, I am very saddened by this tragic accident. However, I cannot say I am surprised. This young man has a disturbing history, I do hope he is ok.


this could have been a lot worse, thank goodness he didn't get ahold of one of the guns that are in the household. And why isn't someone questioning where he had access to the black powder.


I guess it depends on one's definition of "bomb," but there was no nefarious purpose. His family says he is in stable condition. Please be considerate of their feelings.


Sounds like a young Tom Edison in the way the young man is described. I hope he recovers, all is well, and lessons are learned. To the family, you should watch the movie "Young Tom Edison" with Mickey Rooney when he was a young star. Great movie, and it may remind you of your son and bring some lightheartedness to this experience. Praying for his recovery!


Praying for a speedy recovery.


I like and agree with this post!


I agree and like this post. Thoughts with him and his family.


Prayers for the young man and his family.


What I don't get is this a totally HIPPA violation under the law by the the Twp fire department releasing this type of information involving a minor. If I was the family I would be finding a good attorney for this big money lawsuit..

Becky Vargo

The name was obtained from a different source and confirmed by neighbors.


Why not respect the family and not reveal the minors name? Shame on the Tribune, becoming more and more like the trash you read in the checkout lines at Meijer.


I work in the medical field. There is no HIPAA violation.


you better review the law again.. If you worked for me I would not take that chance...


your log in claims you to be a newspaperlawyer. go back to law school in the medical sector and learn who HIPAA applies. as was stated the name was not given by fire/rescue. therefore there is no HIPAA violation. I suppose you'd also sue on this scenario: minor had blood work at a local hospital. students were practicing on his "blood," found a highly contagious disease and called the family to inform them of the condition (family had no knowledge of the condition or students practicing on blood samples). after a run around and more testing, the minor did have the contagious disease and parents were informed by the family physician that the minor's HIPAA rights were violated and a lawyer should be contacted. lawyer told parents after hearing the story that nothing could be done and there was no suit, yet the hospital voided charges. I don't think I'd ever work for you even if you were a real lawyer.


Well "MAMAT"... Well I have a source on this.. and I would not believe anything that comes out of GH Tribunes mouth about where they have received information. I have over heard the GH twp fire department release private information several times... If the Twp fire department operates as a State Licensed Medical unit... they fall under the HIPPA laws... and also the personnel fall under these rules.. so announcing this information in the through a reporter or just in public or in a local restaurant is a violation... So it really doesn't matter where it was heard... A reporter can always use this excuse... The GH tribune should not release any personnel information about the name , type of injuries suffered, or treatment... You don't see the police releasing this information. Don't worry I don't hire people with loose lips.....


When I was a teenager myself and several friends were always making home made "bombs." We would go out in the woods and put them in mud and tree stumps etc. It was just a fun rebellious thing to do at the time. Access to black powder was as easy as going to Meijer and buying it. Thankfully we never got hurt doing it but as we got older we realized how dangerous it actually was and "grew up."


I think most of us in one way or another did crazy things back in the days. I also think we took more care on how we did some of these things than kids today do. There seems to be an "invincible" attitude in teens today.


don't worry, loser. no loose lips here and still wouldn't be interested. the scenario I mentioned happened to my family and one of my kids so no loose lips involved :P


that was for newspaperlawyer.


I'm so sorry to hear about your families medical issue. But I'm sure your thankful that the local hospital contacted you about your child's medical problem. I would be thankful that the hospital contacted me even though you would think your family doctor may of contacted you first or maybe some non qualified office staff person gave you the advise to contact the law professional or Maybe the family doctor was contacted and it sat on his desk ... or maybe it was the lab pathologist that told lab staff to contact the patients parent... Its a little different here... a local newspaper issuing news on injured juveniles. I really don't care if they learned from the neighbor or who the source was. The local rag or fire departments do not need to be releasing personal information or hearing about it in the local businesses.


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