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VIDEO: ATF blows up buses and bombs for training

Posted at 8:09 PM, Sep 21, 2016
and last updated 2016-09-21 20:09:10-04

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives (ATF) is conducting special training this week in Western New York to teach first responders more about explosive devices and how to deal with a post-blast situation.

During the three day course, local police and firefighters learn the components of explosive devices, followed by witnessing blast effects, and ending with the trainees learning how to gather evidence and reconstruct a bomb explosion crime scene.

While terrorism is a big concern when it comes to explosive devices, officials say the the more common problem involves criminals who make things like pipe bombs with everyday chemicals.

ATF officials say they hope the training will help law enforcement come to a quicker determination of cause, threat and suspects when dealing with a bomb because of better information sharing by first responders.

During the second day of the course, twenty-five trainees were taken to the old LaFarge stone quarry in Gasport to witness 15 explosions using different types of commercial, military and homemade explosives.  Even in small quantities, many of the explosions produced a powerful concussion that could be felt 400 feet away by the class and media crews.

7 Eyewitness News reporter Ed Reilly was at the quarry to witness the demonstrations and recorded several blasts that can be viewed in his story.

The largest explosions involved four vehicles that included two old NFTA buses.  The trainees were not allowed to witness the vehicle explosions because they have to come back on Thursday to sift through the debris looking for evidence.

However, media crews were able to record the blasts.  Watch Ed's report to see more.