Shotgun shell explodes in Clark man's hands

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— A 21-year-old Clark man suffered severe hand injuries Tuesday after the shotgun shell he was taking apart exploded, according to the Routt County Sheriff’s Office.

Undersheriff Ray Birch said North Routt Fire Protection District firefighters and deputies learned about the accident at about 4 p.m.

Birch said Keith West told deputies that he was working in his shed in the 56000 block of Lupine Drive off Seedhouse Road when the accident occurred. West reported he was using a Dremel power tool to take apart the shell, which he thought no longer was a live round. The tool hit the round’s primer, igniting the round.

West then went to a neighbor’s house for help.

Birch said deputies found an old, brass, 10-gauge shotgun shell in the shed, but they were unable to recover any of West’s fingers. Investigator T.J. Sisto reported West was missing parts of his thumb, index and middle fingers on his left hand, which West was using to hold the round.

“It’s a very unfortunate accident,” Birch said. “Our heart goes out to this young man and his family.”

Birch said West was taken to Yampa Valley Medical Center and then being flown to a different hospital. His injuries were not thought to be life threatening.

Birch urged people to use caution when handling ammunition or anything that has the potential to explode.

“If a child finds something like this, they need to notify an adult,” Birch said. “This is an example of the things that can happen.”

To reach Matt Stensland, call 970-871-4247 or email mstensland@SteamboatToday.com

Aug. 21, 2012 shotgun shell accident


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