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8255Mystery boom stumps officials

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  • AngelOfThyNight@aol.com
    Apr 16, 2004
      Mystery boom stumps officials
      BY GREGORY A. SUMMERS - Staff Writer

      No one knows the exact origin of the loud boom that shook part of the city Sunday night.

      But when Robert McClain saw his neighbor's lights come on shortly after 10:30 p.m., he said it was comforting to know he wasn't the only one with rattling window panes.

      McClain said at first, he thought his daughter, 5-year-old Arianna, had fallen out of her new bed. But that wasn't the case.

      "I didn't know what was going on," said McClain, who lives on Marion Sims Drive. "It shook the whole house, but it didn't sound like thunder."

      When McClain saw neighbor Brent Blalock outside looking around, he went out to talk to him.

      "I was just glad to know that I wasn't going crazy and that somebody else heard it," McClain said.

      "It was just kind of weird," Blalock said. "I heard a loud car come by, the house shook and I thought that somebody had hit a tree or something. Robert came outside and we tried to figure out what was going on. We looked around and didn't see anything. It's just kind of a mystery, I guess."

      Lancaster Police Chief Hugh White said the police department received several calls about the "boom." White said officers checked the area, but couldn't find anything.

      "At first, I thought it was thunder, because I knew thunderstorms were in the forecast, but it didn't really sound like it," White said. "I really don't know what it was, but it shook our house, too."

      Earthquake experts at the University of South Carolina's Seismic Network have ruled out any tremors in the area. Pradeep Talwani said nothing showed on network seismographs.
      Another possibility was a sonic boom.

      The Air Force, S.C. Air National Guard and Marines all have planes stationed in South Carolina that can break the sound barrier, but SCANG Lt. Col. Les Carroll said he couldn't think of any military unit in the area that would be flying at 10:30 p.m. Sunday.

      "That time of night is just an unusual time to be flying," Carroll said. "I know it wasn't us - we didn't have any aircraft in the area and it wasn't a drill weekend."

      City Fire Marshal Brian Stogner, who lives on Barr Street near Springs Memorial Hospital, said he'd sure like to know the cause.

      Like many, Stogner was startled from a deep sleep by the mystery boom.

      "Honestly, I thought somebody had hit the house," Stogner said. "We have a basement door that catches in the wind every now and again, but I checked the door and it was fine.

      "I don't like getting woke up like that," Stogner said. "When you're a fireman, you get ready to put your shoes on and hit the door because you figure the next thing you'll hear is your pager going off."

      Contact Greg Summers at 283-1152 or gsummers@...