Federal Charges Follow Explosion Outside of Home

The blast left Mark McCloud without a hand, and he's now apologizing to the community in an online video

The central Vermont man who lost his left hand in an explosion last week is now facing federal charges, and apologized to the community in an online post.

Mark McCloud, 45, of Northfield, will be charged with possessing explosive devices and unlawfully distributing explosives, the Burlington office of U.S. Attorney Eric Miller said Monday.

The federal prosecutor’s office said a device made of copper tubing and explosive powder blew up in McCloud's hand last Wednesday night, injuring several bystanders. Law enforcement officers found several feet of fuses in McCloud's home, Miller's office said, and another explosive device McCloud allegedly gave a neighbor.

That device is stored in a secure facility pending further analysis, Miller's office said.

If convicted, McCloud could face possible prison sentences of up to ten years for each charge and fines of up to $250,000. If convicted, McCloud's actual sentence will be advised by the federal sentencing guidelines, Miller's office noted.

Meanwhile, McCloud told his side of the story in a video posted to YouTube.

In the video published on YouTube by Fawn French, McCloud disputed the Vermont State Police's early description of the device as a "pipe bomb." Instead, McCloud claimed it was a large, old firework his mother found cleaning out a friend's house.

In the video, McCloud said he feels terrible that the explosion injured his pregnant wife and others. He apologized to them, insisting he had no ill intent, and saying he just wanted to show off and have some fun.

McCloud suggested his missing left hand should be a learning lesson to others that it is not smart to play with unknown explosives.

"I just want to apologize to the whole community," McCloud said in the video. "This was wrong. Nobody deserves this, and I'll be paying for this for the rest of my life."

Initial reports said the device exploded inside the Northfield apartment, but investigators have since made it clear the explosion happened outside.

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