An explosion at a home in East Boston overnight Sunday that severely injured one resident and yielded the discovery of multiple weapons is not connected to terrorism, Boston Police Commissioner William B. Evans said.
"We don't believe there's any nexus to terrorism at all here," Evans said Sunday evening. "It appears the individual was playing an experiment with powder and chemicals and we believe from that, combustion, it blew up in his face."
The Boston Police Department, along with the Boston Fire Department, responded to a report of a building fire/explosion at 88 Webster Street just after 12:30 a.m. Sunday and they noticed upon arrival that the second floor windows had been blown out, Evans said.
The injured resident who was living on the second floor of the building was later identified as 28-year-old Tomas Mikula.
Mikula was rushed to Mass General Hospital with what appeared to be burns to the lower body. Evans said he is currently under guard by Boston police at MGH where he is recovering from second degree burns to his arms and legs.
Federal authorities joined the investigation early on and were still sifting through evidence at the scene Sunday evening, but Commissioner Evans said in working with the special agent in charge and his team, "we're very comfortable in saying we don't think there was anything related to terrorism here."
While the Boston Police Bomb Squad was conducting a sweep of Mikula's residence for safety purposes, they observed, in plain view, evidence of materials commonly associated with the creation of an explosive device.
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Following that observation, a search warrant was executed.
As a result of the search warrant, Boston police detectives, along with FBI and ATF agents, located and confiscated materials commonly used to construct a home-made explosive device, including PVC tubing and chemical compounds.
Authorities also discovered and confiscated two handguns, a rifle and over a hundred rounds of live ammunition.
Following the explosion, the first and second floors were safely evacuated, and police blocked off several streets. Bomb squad members and FBI agents also responded to the scene overnight.
Witnesses told NBC10 Boston they heard a loud explosion coming from the apartment building on Webster Street.
"There was glass all over the street, and pieces of window," said neighbor Jane Titus. "One gentleman that lives on that floor came out and said 'I'm okay,' but he was all bleeding and he had burns on his lower body and his arms."
Keith Johnson, who lives across the street, said he was the first to call police after the explosion.
"It's very scary, especially when it's literally in front of your house," Johnson told NBC10 Boston.
Neighbors say Mikula has been living in the apartment for about two years. Two dogs were also reportedly rescued from the home after the incident.
The residents on the two other floors have been displaced, according to officials, and the city's inspectional department will check the integrity of the building.
Commissioner Evans said he doesn't know the extent of the first and third floors but that the second floor won't be opened up any time soon.
He said they are waiting for the inspectional service department to give the OK to start to get some of the neighbors back into their apartments.
"When [the inspectional service department] is ready to open it we will. The neighbors have been good, obviously we’re sorry for the inconvenience, but I think they were pretty shooken up last night by the explosion," Evans said. "They've been super and they understand we’ve got a job to do here."
Mikula has been charged with unlawful possession of explosives, unlawful possession of an incendiary device, willful ignition/discharge of a destructive or incendiary device, unlawful possession of a firearm (handgun), unlawful possession of a firearm (rifle), unlawful possession of ammunition, and unlawful possession of high capacity firearm.
A motive has yet to be determined.
"Trying to determine motive, but based on what we found in there, we don’t believe there was any sinister plot or anything else," Evans said. "You know, who knows. We just come off the July 4 where you know where all weekend long we heard these bombs and who knows and maybe he was doing something like that."
There are no other suspects or persons of interest, Evans said.
The investigation is active and ongoing.