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Western Henrico explosions rattle neighbors, more planned

HENRICO COUNTY, Va. (WTVR) – Blasting at a construction site in western Henrico County prompted panic and several calls to 9-1-1 dispatchers Tuesday afternoon.

Several people working in office buildings near the Mayland Drive site, say one blast in particular, felt and sounded more like a bomb exploding.

“I’m telling you, it felt like the building was falling down,” exclaimed David Cooke.  “Everyone ran out of the building.”

According to Henrico Fire Captain Jim Mellon, construction crews are using blasts to clear rocks and have permits to do so until the end of the month between the hours of 8am and 5pm.  Mellon says that both the Henrico Communications Center and Fire Marshal’s office will be alerted before each blast.

Lt. Jim Nevius, with the Henrico Fire Department, says Tuesday’s scheduled blasts still caused several panicked phone calls from nearby workers and residents.  Two smaller blasts on Wednesday didn’t invoke the same reaction.

“Today we didn’t get calls, but yesterday was a little different,” Nevius says.

Christina Ventura, who lives in townhomes about a mile from the construction site, says she received a phone call from her teenage son late Tuesday afternoon.

“My son calls me at work and he says ‘Mom, did you feel that?’”  Ventura adds, “After the earthquake last year, I think that’s what probably scared him the most.”

Ventura and several others say, given recent tragic events around the country, a warning to nearby homeowners and office managers would have been appreciated.

“With the whole Boston Marathon and everything like that, we had no idea what was going on,” says office worker Crystie Lam.

Mellon says two blasts are scheduled for Thursday at 11:30 a.m. and 4:30 p.m.