Pendleton fire officials say homemade fireworks caused an explosion and fire earlier this week that killed a man and injured others.
Officials identified the victim as 25-year-old Eduardo Quezada.
The explosion happened Tuesday at Pendleton’s historic city hall building. The downtown structure caught fire and was quickly engulfed in flames.
“When I headed out of my house this morning I did hear a big boom,” said Pendleton resident Micah Engum, who works near the building. “City hall was engulfed in smoke. It’s a brick structure so the interior seems to be completely destroyed.”
Engum said he watched from the stairwell of his workplace a couple of blocks away as firefighters poured water over the flames.
The city of Pendleton issued a statement Friday, indicating that Quezada had likely been building homemade fireworks in his apartment when the explosion occurred.
“It is believed that Quezada was creating flash powder, which he used to build improvised explosive devices of varying size,” the release stated. “There is no indication that the referenced ‘fireworks’ were intended for any other purpose than entertainment.”
The privately-owned city hall building was sold in 1996. It is owned by the Quezada family, and houses businesses and apartment units.
Pendleton city officials say the Quezada family is working with the city and the state Department of Environmental Quality to ensure the safety of the community during cleanup.