Homemade bomb rips through house

Published 12:00 am Saturday, May 14, 2005

An Ironton man is in jail today, charged in connection with a fire at his residence Friday morning that was the result of a homemade explosive device.

Todd Terkhorn, 23, of 1747 Kevin St., is charged with aggravated arson.

"We received a call on a structure fire, and when we arrived at the scene neighbors told us they had heard a couple of explosions," Ironton Fire Chief Tom Runyon said.

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The explosion in an upstairs bathroom blew a hole, approximately 5 feet in diameter in one end of the second floor of the house. The blast blew a second-story window into a neighbor's yard.

The explosion left an approximately 18-foot gap between the wall and the roof on the other end of the second floor of the Terkhorn house.

Components for a second explosive device were found in the console of a Nissan Maxima parked in front of the house.

"It was gun powder and steel balls in a plastic container," Ironton police detective Jim Akers said. A bomb squad from the City of Columbus was called in to handle the device.

Runyon said agents with the State Fire Marshal's office would participate in the investigation into what happened at the Terkhorn residence.

One-half of a city block was evacuated at one point as a precaution, though.

Alice Walker lives next door and was one of the people evacuated. Walker said she was in a rear bedroom on the end of her house next to the Terkhorn residence when the explosion occurred.

"I heard the explosion and I heard the crash (of the window) and my first thought was that something happened to the large tree out front," she said. "I walked outside and saw it wasn't the tree and went around to the side of the house and saw this." She pointed to the window that had blown out of the Terkhorn house and fell against her own house. "Then I saw the flames and after that it really started. … I have literally been in a state of shock."

Residents were allowed back in their houses just before 6 p.m., approximately six hours after they were asked to clear the area.

Walker and other neighbors described the Terkhorns as good people who never caused any trouble within the neighborhood.

Concerns for safety sent Ironton City Schools Director of Federal Programs

Bill Dressel to the scene to discuss the situation. Ironton Middle School sits less than three blocks from the incident scene. He left after being assured the children would be safe.

One neighbor, Clarence Boggs, who lives on adjacent Cliff Street, said it's been several years since he has seen this many law enforcement officials in his neighborhood.

The last time, he recalled, it was the discovery of the body of young Seleana Gamble that created anxiety within the neighborhood. The child's body was found buried in the yard of a house on Phillip Street. Gamble's mother and step-father, Jack and Mona Volgares, were later convicted in connection with her death.

Akers said Terkhorn is being evaluated by mental health officials.