About 40 residences on a Columbus side street were evacuated while bomb squad, hazmat fire personnel and other emergency responders investigated a resident’s report that he sustained minor burns from possible small nuclear reactor inside a residential garage.
As a precaution while authorities investigated the man’s claims, Chippenhook Court was evacuated and Cranston Drive was closed between Route 33 and Dummerston Court, the next cul-de-sac street east in the subdivision.
The man told bomb squad, arson fire investigators and medics on scene that he sustained “radio frequency burns” while working on a “quantum physics generator” in his garage, said Battalion Chief Steve Martin, the Columbus Division of Fire spokesman.
“We have no reason to believe that he was trying to make anything that would do anyone any harm,” Martin said.
He said medics determined the man did not appear to be injured, at least not seriously.
In the man’s 911 call, he made reference to a particle accelerator and alpha waves, Martin said. The latter reference led to concerns about potential radiation, he said.
The large emergency response and the evacuation of residents on Chippenhook was done out of an abundance of caution while investigators were “evaluating his story,” Martin said.
Radiation level checks were conducted on the man and the garage and nothing was found, Martin said. A nuclear specialist brought to the scene found what was identified as a homemade capacitor, a device which consists of two or more separate conducting plates and are used to store an electric charge, he said.
One firefighter in a hazmat suit was injured when he unexpectedly came off a curb and twisted his ankle, Martin said. He was being treated at the scene by fire medics. Otherwise, no injuries have been reported.