ONTARIO, Ore. -- Two Ontario men are being treated for life-threatening injuries after they detonated a home-made bomb near a reservoir west of Vale, according to the Ontario Police Department.
Police say the men detonated the explosive device about 10-miles west of Vale near the Bully Creek Reservoir sometime before 7:30 p.m. Sunday.
Ontario Police Chief Mark Alexander says the men, ages 59 and 60, received "life-threatening and disfiguring" injuries in the blast. Authorities say a dog also received injuries.
Police say the injured men were able to call for help, and a family member drove them to the Saint Alphonsus Hospital in Ontario where they were initially treated.
BOMB SQUAD SECURES HOSPITAL
In a news release, Chief Alexander said the Nampa Bomb Squad was called to check the vehicle in question for explosives. Alexander says that's because "indications were made that an unexploded device might be in the vehicle."
The Saint Alphonsus Hospital in Ontario was secured, and the parking lot was put on lockdown during the check. No explosive device was found. The hospital resumed normal operations at approximately 11:30 p.m.
VICTIMS TAKEN TO HOSPITALS IN PORTLAND, BOISE
Both men were reported to have suffered "extensive" injuries in the blast. Police say one man was taken via Life Flight to Oregon Health and Science University in Portland for treatment. The other was transported via Life Flight to Saint Alphonsus Regional Medical Center in Boise.
As of Monday night, the Malheur County Sheriff said both men were still in critical condition and were not available for questioning. He said it may be weeks before they can speak to the men about the bombs and what they were doing.
BOMB MAKING MATERIALS
Police say the two men live together in Ontario, and when officers obtained a warrant and checked their home on the 1200 block of Southwest Third Avenue, they found bomb-making materials and bomb-making instructions. Police evacuated nearby homes during the investigation, which took until 2:30 a.m.
"We heard a knock on the door and we ignored it because it was late," neighbor Nancy Oakes said. "Then they called us and said to open the door, that the police were there. They asked us to evacuate because they had found bombs and bombs had gone off out of town. The house directly behind us, they had had bombs in his home and in his garage."
Neighbors say the man they'd seen living at the house was quiet and didn't really engage with others living in the neighborhood. They say knowing there were bombs and bomb making materials inside the home makes them nervous.
"It concerned me with all the kids close by in proximity and just never know what he was going to be doing with the bombs," Oakes said.
Malheur County Sheriff Brian Wolfe said the Nampa Bomb Squad found several blast sites and one undetonated explosive about three-miles north of the Bully Creek Reservoir in an unpopulated desert area.
Wolfe said at least three bombs had been detonated. "I can tell you they were home-made devices," Wolfe said. "There appeared to be two or three types, and obviously very destructive."
Wolfe believes the victims made the devices based on evidence collected.
"It appears as if they were made of different things. Plastic pipes, plastic hoses. One was a cardboard on the outside, a cardboard tubing with some plastic in it," Wolfe said.
Wolfe says he believes the explosives detonated at different times and places. He says debris from the bombs was found as far as 200 feet from the area of detonation.
Officers with the Malheur County Sheriff's Office, Oregon State Police, the Nampa Bomb Squad, and agents with the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms are conducting a multi-jurisdictional investigation.
Chief Alexander says criminal charges are a possibility in this case. However, he says there's no indication of a further threat to the public. Sheriff Wolfe says he has a lot of questions about if there may have been a threat if the men hadn't been stopped.
"This is not a case of kids just seeing how much noise they can make, you know or foolishly experimenting with gun powder or something like that," Wolfe said. So that's the unanswered question. Why do we have these types of devices? Why are there more at their home? And what's their plan? What's their end game? ... Are they just seeing if they can make it? Do they have a target in mind? Are they trying to inflict harm on other people? Those are the questions."