Explosion at Finksburg birthday party occurred when device was mistaken for candle

The Office of the State Fire Marshal said this week that an explosion that occurred at a Finksburg home last month was due to a resident mistaking an improvised explosive device for a decorative birthday candle.

The explosion occurred on the evening of Aug. 16 in the 2700 block of Piedmont Hollow Drive, Finksburg.

According to the fire marshal's office, the residence was damaged, and three people were injured, when the device was mistaken for a candle and lit during a birthday celebration.

Abu Fofanah, 43, his wife Fatmata, 36, and their 13-year-old daughter received burns and lacerations from the explosion. Abu Fofanah and his daughter were transported to Johns Hopkins University Bayview Burn Center and its Pediatric Center, respectively. Fatmata Fofannah was treated for lacerations at Carroll Hospital Center and released.

The blast caused an estimated $35,000 damage to the home, according to the report.

The fire marshal's office said an investigation by deputy fire marshals and bomb squad technicians determined that the device, which loosely resembled a large candle, had been in the home for at least two years prior to the night of the explosion — though family members were not sure of how or when it was acquired.

The Fofanah's 11-year-old daughter, thinking it was a candle, lit the device during the celebration, the fire marshal's office said in its report.

Investigators said a home video taken during the celebration provided information about events leading up to the explosion.

The fire marshal's office is investigating the origin of the device and the Federal Bureau of Investigations is assisting.

An improvised explosive device is an explosive that's not professionally manufactured in accordance with safety standards. The manufacture of one is a felony, which is punishable by fines of up to $250,000, imprisonment of up to 25 years or both.

Copyright © 2018, The Baltimore Sun, a Baltimore Sun Media Group publication | Place an Ad