Police: Homeowner Who Experimented With Explosives Killed in Explosion

Investigators say the man's wife told them he was making explosives to blow up tree stumps

Investigators say a Maine homeowner is dead after an explosion in the basement of his home.

The explosion was reported by Lincoln residents around 7 p.m. Officials say there was little damage to the Stanhope Mill Road house, but the man's body was found in the basement where the explosion occurred.

The victim was identified as 67-year-old Robert Stuart.

Family members and neighbors told police the man had been experimenting with explosives in recent months. His wife also told investigators he was making the devices to blow up tree stumps.

Members of the state police's bomb squad were on hand at the scene. Fire marshals, along with federal investigators from the FBI and ATF, are investigating the explosion, including where and when Stuart purchased the bomb making materials.

"He was always tinkering, he loved fireworks, and things to go boom," said Stuart’s friend, Catherine Lewis. "If you have a tree stump in your yard, and you need to get it out – what do you do? You blow it up. He wouldn’t have meant for anything harmful to happen."

Lewis is the Board Chair of the Medical Marijuana Caregivers of Maine, where Stuart served on the advisory board. She said Stuart was a "pioneer" in Maine’s medical marijuana movement, and was well-known in the cannabis and organic farming community.

"He was just a kind, caring person that helped a lot of people," she said.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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