A homemade illegal explosive destroyed the rear wall of a North Kelso apartment and forced neighbors to evacuate Thursday night.
No one appeared injured from the blast, though three people inside the residence went to St. John Medical Center for evaluation, said Alan Headley, assistant fire chief for Cowlitz Fire District 2.
Kelso police are investigating the explosion, which occurred around 6:20 p.m.
The blast forced a rear wall to bow away and partially detach from the house, Headley said. Neighbors said part of the rear roof appeared to be destroyed as well.
The house is about five blocks west of Huntington Middle School, at the corner of Second Avenue North and Division Street. Neighbors said the residence contains three apartments, two of which were vacant.
"There didn't appear to be an actual fire in the house," Headley said.
However, he did see a few boxes (about one by two feet in size) with what appeared to be homemade firecrackers inside the house.
The device that exploded is considered a "homemade illegal explosive," Kelso Police Capt. Jeremy Kirk said at the scene.
He said charges are possible.
The Portland Bomb Squad was called to search for and destroy other explosives possibly inside the house, Kirk said.
A neighboring house to the south, in addition to the damaged home, were evacuated Thursday evening.
Kelso resident Eric Torgerson said he could hear a "deep boom" from inside his house, about half a block from the explosion.
"It was bigger than any firework," he said.
To Tim Kindell, who also lives a half-block from the scene, the explosion sounded "like a pipe bomb."
"We thought it was a homemade firecracker but it was too loud and shook the house," said his wife, Nicole Kindell.
Tim Kindell said the man living in the apartment indicated to him that making homemade firecrackers was a hobby. The Kindells said they're not aware of any other explosions at the house.
Nicole Kindell said she's glad there weren't any serious injuries and hopes her neighbor learns to be more careful.
"This is not the safest thing," she said.