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Alaska State Troopers, ATF investigating Chena Ridge blast

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Posted: Monday, February 4, 2013 10:00 am | Updated: 1:54 pm, Mon Feb 4, 2013.

FAIRBANKS — State and federal officials are investigating a large explosion Saturday in a residential area of Fairbanks that damaged several nearby residences and was widely heard throughout the area.

Alaska State Troopers, the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Fireams and Explosives and the FBI are seeking information about the explosion, which occurred about 4:15 p.m. Saturday at a "makeshift" shooting range in the area of Heath Way and Gateway in the Chena Ridge neighborhood.

The explosion was large enough to damage at least 12 residences in the area, troopers said. The blast blew out windows and soffits and vents in at least six homes and damaged other parts of the structures. Items fell off walls and shelves and the explosion was heard as far away as North Pole.

The explosion occurred in the vicinity of a private shooting range owned by Craig O’Donoghue, who has been in a dispute with troopers and with residents who have complained about noise and safety issues.

Troopers, citing department policy, declined to identify the location of the explosion.

Troopers’ spokesperson Megan Peters, said Sunday evening that no one has been charged. The substance or substances used to create the blast haven’t yet been identified, Peters said.

“If anyone has any information on who may be culpable, they are asked to contact troopers at 451-5100,” Peters said.

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