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Boy, 15, seriously injured in bomb explosion

Becky Vargo • Jul 21, 2015 at 11:41 AM

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.

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