GARDNER (FOX 25 / MyFoxBoston.com) – A Gardner
couple who recently moved into their new home on Cleveland Road is thankful that
their holiday plans took them out-of-state after their neighbor's homemade
cannon malfunctioned and sent bits of shrapnel through their home.
Matt Williams and his family decided to spend Independence in Maine instead of Massachusetts, and it is a decision that could have saved their lives.
Upon returning home from their trip, Williams found mysterious holes in one side of their home, as well as pieces of shrapnel deeply lodged into the wood.
"I was completely befuddled, I had no idea
what had happened. With the way it
looked, I thought there was an animal in here that tried to crawl its way
out. Did someone shoot at the house?"
Williams told FOX 25.
Investigators, however, had a different version of the story.
Williams' neighbor reportedly had a homemade cannon in his backyard. The cannon which was made out of an old cast
iron pipe and some gunpowder malfunctioned and exploded on July 3 sending bits of schrapnel into both his neighbors' homes.
"It came with so much force, it went straight through and made a massive hold
on the inside," Williams said. "Within inches, it easily could have taken out
the electrical and caused a fire."
A neighbor told FOX 25 that she had never heard anything so loud. It was so loud that it could be felt in the chest.
Williams found four holes, and one of them was a foot from his 3-month-old's
Another piece of shrapnel came through Williams' daughter's room and hit near
When police initially checked out the damage, the neighbor who had the cannon showed up at the door allegedly smelling of alcohol.
"I could smell the alcohol as soon as I turned around, I was within like 5 feet
of him and I could smell it, it all clicked then, alcohol and black powder
don't mix," Williams said.
The neighbor was not available for comment.
Police say no charges have been filed yet, but the investigation is ongoing.