A Truckee man is in jail for possession of an explosive device and starting a fire. Police say the man could have burned down an entire neighborhood...or worse.
Neighbors say they were just sitting down to dinner, when they heard a loud boom that sounded like a gunshot...but police say the noise was that of a homemade firebomb.
"The subject had put a balloon full of propane out in the roadway. He poured gasoline on it, and then lit it, which caused the balloon to explode," said Sgt. Tim Hargrove of the Truckee Police Department.
37-year-old Michael Callaghan was arrested just a few blocks from these gasoline streaks and paint markings where police say the explosion occurred.
It was in the Glenshire area of East Truckee, on a heavily wooded section of Donnington Street. Investigators say a small fire started just feet away from Callaghan's homemade bomb. Witnesses tell us he put it out before law enforcement arrived on scene.
"He wasn't thinking very well about the repercussions for exploding something during a very dry, summer, very high fire danger," said Hargrove.
Lorna Tirman, one of Callaghan's neighbors added, "It's frightening, to think someone would do something like that."
Investigators say it burned right next to homes, dry timber...and piles of fuel, just waiting to ignite.
"I feel bad for the fire department. It's enough to stop fires in the forest, but to save homes is nearly impossible when you're this close," said Tirman.
Investigators from the Truckee Police Department say the fire started by Callaghan could have traveled miles in just a few minutes...disastrous in an area where homes are grazed by pine trees.
"Today we'd probably still be fighting the fire if it got out of hand," said Hargrove.
Callaghan is being held in the Nevada County jail on a $25,000 bail.