Firefighter Loses Hand After Explosion, Investigation Continues

By: Venton D. Blandin
By: Venton D. Blandin

November 25, 2005

An explosion in Albemarle County left one man spending Thanksgiving without a hand and in the hospital. Albemarle County officials are biw investigating just what happened.

Thanksgiving festivities were cut short for a man police say is responsible for causing an explosion on Jefferson Mill Road in Woodridge.

"Everything here is still under investigation, and what we know is that he had an explosive device go off in his hand," said Tim Cersley, Chief of the Scottsville Volunteer Fire Company.

Wednesday evening, Albemarle County police responded to a call for an assault with a weapon, but they arrived to find a man hurt by an explosive device near his backyard.

"To the point that they had to amputate his right hand back to his wrist," added Chief Cersley.

The man is 20-year old Scottsville firefighter John Barton. According to the county's fire marshal, Barton was dealing with a device containing gunpowder.

Just two days later, Albemarle County police along with the fire marshal, were back at the scene trying find out exactly what device was used.

The fire marshal searched the wooded area with the assistance of K-9 Officer Gunny.

"Gunny, within a few minutes, was able to locate the device that we were looking for," said Bill Clark, Assistant Fire Marshal of Albemarle County.

Details of the device found were not released, and the investigation continues.

Part of the continuing investigation is whether or not charges should be filed. The Commonwealth's Attorneys office will have to make that call. Firefighter Barton will be able to continue working as a firefighter using a prosthetic hand.

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