Union man charged after explosion making ‘flash powder,’ prosecutor says

A Union man was trying to make “flash powder” Tuesday afternoon, and that led to a small explosion outside his home and a felony charge announced Thursday evening.

Connell Theodore Gubser, 68, was charged with illegal manufacturing or processing of explosives, Montgomery County Prosecutor Mat Heck Jr. announced. It is a second-degree felony.

Union police, along with firefighters from Union, Clayton and Englewood, responded to a report of an explosion around 3:35 p.m. to the 100 block of Warner Drive. The homeowner, Gubser, suffered a minor injury in the explosion, Union Police and Fire Chief Mike Blackwell said.

ExplorePHOTOS: Bomb squad responds to explosion at Union home

Authorities began their investigation when a neighbor called 911.

“There was an explosion next door,” said a neighbor in the call. “Smoke is rolling out of their house.”

The neighbor said he did not know what happened, but that he heard a “very muffled low boom” and that he “was able to see a bright flash.”

A small explosion Tuesday afternoon, Feb. 2, 2021, brought numerous police and fire agencies, including the Dayton Bomb Squad, to a home in the 100 block of Warner Drive in Union. MARSHALL GORBY/STAFF
A small explosion Tuesday afternoon, Feb. 2, 2021, brought numerous police and fire agencies, including the Dayton Bomb Squad, to a home in the 100 block of Warner Drive in Union. MARSHALL GORBY/STAFF

Credit: Marshall Gorby

Credit: Marshall Gorby

Inside Gubser’s home, first responders found “a significant number of chemicals that are used to make explosives,” Heck stated in a release. “The defendant was attempting to make ‘flash powder,’ which is considered an explosive.”

The Dayton Bomb Squad also responded to the home, and an FBI spokesman on Wednesday said that the federal agency is assisting local police.

ExploreRELATED: FBI investigating after explosion reported at house in Union; 1 in custody

Gubser remains held in the Montgomery County Jail.

The prosecutor’s office said it will ask that he be held on a high bond, and that the case soon will be presented to a Montgomery County grand jury.

Connell Theodore Gubser
Connell Theodore Gubser

Credit: Montgomery County Jail

Credit: Montgomery County Jail

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Union police and the Montgomery County Regional SWAT team previously were called Jan. 29, 2019, to the same house and had contact with Gubser, who Blackwell said was intoxicated and threatening to harm himself.

Gubser was charged with inducing panic, having weapons while intoxicated and disorderly conduct. He pleaded guilty April 15, 2019, to inducing panic and was sentenced to one year of probation and ordered to continue mental health and alcohol treatment. The judge suspended 180 days in jail. The other two charges were dismissed, Vandalia Municipal Court records show.

The Dayton Bomb Squad responded to an explosion followed by smoke seen Tuesday, Feb. 2, 2021, at a house in the 100 block of Warner Drive in Union.
The Dayton Bomb Squad responded to an explosion followed by smoke seen Tuesday, Feb. 2, 2021, at a house in the 100 block of Warner Drive in Union.

Credit: Jim Noelker

Credit: Jim Noelker

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