Man’s hand blown off after igniting explosive device outside Hemet 7-Eleven

HEMET — Authorities are investigating after a man had part of his hand partially amputated when he allegedly ignited an explosive device – possibly a firework – outside a Hemet 7-Eleven convenience store early this morning, Wednesday, Aug. 21. The explosion, which officials say blew part of the man’s hand off and caused “severe, but non-life-threatening injuries,” happened in the 41900 block E. Highway 74, at the intersection of Florida Ave. and Meridian St.

Although this morning’s explosion was similar to another explosion that happened yesterday in the parking lot of a Stater Bros, southeast of the intersection of Florida Ave. and Stanford St., sheriff’s officials told RCNS this afternoon they did not believe the two incidents were related.

The two businesses where the explosions occurred are both located along Florida Ave., and are barely a quarter-mile’s distance apart.


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Deputies assigned to the Hemet Sheriff’s Station, along with Cal Fire/Riverside County Fire and AMR, were dispatched to the 7-Eleven about 5:43 a.m., after receiving reports of an explosion outside the business, Riverside Sheriff’s Deputy Robyn Flores told RCNS in an email response for details about the two incidents.

When officials arrived at the convenience store they found an adult male who “sustained severe injuries to his hand due to igniting the explosive device,” Flores explained; while saying the device was a firework of some kind.

“The male was transported to a local hospital for non-life-threatening injuries sustained in the explosion,” said Flores.

Based on the circumstances, the Sheriff’s Hazardous Device Team responded and assumed the investigation.

Bomb squad members from Riverside County Sheriff’s Hazardous Device Team are investigating both reported explosions, after a man’s hand was partially amputated while trying to ignite an explosive device at a Hemet 7-Eleven this morning. Sergio Rodriguez/Hemet Valley Incidents photo

Area resident Christina Sierra later said via social media, “My brother was there working and he called and confirmed that he was 30 feet from the guy when this happened.”

“But thank God my brother is ok,” Sierra continued. “He was just very shaken up and has a bad headache from the blast!”

Other witnesses to this morning’s explosion later said it appeared the man who ignited the device had possibly tried to throw the firework at a propane tank outside the convenience store when it exploded in his hand.

Witnesses also said the man then fled across the street to a Rite Aid before running back to the 7-Eleven where he was detained by witnesses until deputies arrived at the scene.

There were no other reported injuries and no additional explosive devices were located in the area, according to Flores.

Sheriff’s deputies and bomb squad members are also investigating a similar explosion that happened after an unknown type homemade explosive device was reportedly detonated near a vehicle in the nearby Stater Brothers parking lot.

Witnesses to yesterday’s incident at Stater Bros reported hearing a loud explosion, and seeing a white powdery substance in the air after the explosion.

The explosion sent area shoppers who had been walking through the parking lot scrambling for cover, and some later reported headaches and ringing in their ears after the unknown device was detonated.

According to witnesses at the scene of yesterday’s explosion, the homemade explosive device was left in the parking lot by someone who then drove away from the area in a vehicle. The device reportedly exploded just a few minutes later and left blast marks on the asphalt in the area where the explosion occurred.

Despite the similarities in the two incidents, Flores reported, “I don’t believe the two incidents are related.”

Both incidents are still under investigation.

This is a developing story that will be updated as new information is available.

Click any image to open full-size gallery.

Sergio Rodriguez/Hemet Valley Incidents above photos

Mario Sevilla/Hemet News above photos

Contact the writer:

Trevor Montgomery, 47, moved last year to the Intermountain area of Shasta County from Riverside County and runs Riverside County News Source and Shasta County News Source. Additionally, he currently writes for or has written for several other news organizations; including Riverside County based newspapers, Valley News, the (now defunct) Valley Chronicle, Hemet & San Jacinto Chronicle, and Anza Valley Outlook; as well as Bonsall/Fallbrook Village News in San Diego County and Mountain Echo in Shasta County.

Trevor spent 10 years in the U.S. Army as an Orthopedic Specialist before joining the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department in 1998. He was medically retired after losing his leg, breaking his back, and suffering both spinal cord and brain injuries in an off-duty accident. (Click here to see segment of Discovery Channel documentary of Trevor’s accident.)

During his time with the sheriff’s department, Trevor worked at several different stations; including Robert Presley Detention Center, Southwest Station in Temecula, Hemet/Valle Vista Station, Ben Clark Public Safety Training Center, and Lake Elsinore Station; along with other locations.

Trevor’s assignments included Corrections, Patrol, DUI Enforcement, Boat and Personal Water-Craft based Lake Patrol, Off-Road Vehicle Enforcement, Problem Oriented Policing Team, and Personnel/Background Investigations. He finished his career while working as a Sex Crimes and Child Abuse Investigator and was a court-designated expert in child abuse and child sex-related crimes.

Trevor has been married for more than 29 years and was a foster parent to more than 60 children over 13 years. He is now an adoptive parent and his “fluid family” includes 13 children and 15 – but soon to be 16 – grandchildren.


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