"Phantom Blast"Shakes Eastern Hamilton County
At 12:08 a.m., Friday morning May 9,1997, a mysterious "BOOM" shook a large area in the vicinities of Deboltand Main Street (S.R. 32) in the community of Newtown, Ohio, which is inthe eastern section of Hamilton County.
Mr. Charles Stuart and this writer acquirednews of the disturbance following the 2:00 a.m. newscast on 700 WLW radiostation, when the announcement of the event was the top news story.
A phone call placed at 2:08 a.m. tothe Hamilton County Police & Fire Dispatch Center (513-825-2260) confirmedthat "many" calls had been received regarding a "deep blast" that was heardat 12:08 a.m.
The dispatcher conveyed how their initialsuspicion held that a transformer had exploded, but then added that "ourinvestigations discounted that possibility."
During a second interview at 2:20 a.m.with Sergeant Foster, the officer stated that he had heard the clamorousfulmination.
"This was no boom, it was somethingbig. It was not random fireworks, it sounded like a propane bomb," declaredSgt. Foster. The Sergeant described the commotion as a 'deep explosion'which lasted nearly 4 or 5 seconds.
The police sergeant also said that FireChief Dale Henderson suspected the mystery sound was affiliated with jetaircraft traffic flying overhead.
"They changed their flight corridorto the Greater Cincinnati Airport," Sgt. Foster said, "and the fire chiefis looking into the possibilities that something unusual happened withone of these planes."
At 2:32 a.m., a phone call was placedto the Cincinnati Gas & Electric Emergency Reporting Center dispatchline, where the polite receptionist informed that "no power interruptions"had been reported.
The receptionist had previously beenadvised of the matter by the Anderson Township Police Department, whereshe subsequently instructed the Electrical Trouble Department to proceedinto the region. The repair crews scoured the area, she said, and reportedno system problems. The receptionist also said that they had received "nocustomer complaints" regarding service disruption.
A clerk at a United Dairy Farmer conveniencemart located at the intersection of Route 32 and Church Road in Newtownwas contacted at 3:45 a.m. The night clerk, when asked about the boom,said, "I heard it. I thought a truck had hit the back of the store."
"The first thing I did was look outside,and there was a patrol cruiser that just happened to be stopped at thetraffic light out front," informed the night clerk. "It looked like theofficer was hunkered down in his seat, crouched under the steering wheel.He sat there a few minutes, and then after awhile, his siren started flashing,and within three minutes, there were cops everywhere, and the sirens ontop of the volunteer fire department started going off.'
The Cincinnati FAA tower was contactedat 8:20 a.m., where Mr. Dennis Klepper, the Quality Assurance Officer,was aware of the event but denied knowledge of any unusual aircraft malfunctionsor other abnormalities which would have produced the thunderous boom.
"I heard the news reports on the radiothis morning," Mr. Klepper said, "and I can't put my finger on any airplanecoming out of this airport which would cause such a racket. A sonic boomwould have to be a military aircraft, but if it was a sonic boom, it wouldhave been heard beyond Newtown. If a plane blew up, we would know aboutit, and there would be fires or something. As far as a mechanical malfunction,I checked the operations log for the night and nothing was reported."
"A worst case scenario for a strangesound from an airplane is an aircraft operating with a compressor stall,but this is a whining noise and it wouldn't make a boom sound at all."
Details of a similar and equally mysteriousevent happening 6.75 miles north of Newtown, taking place on April 17 arecurrently held under consideration. The disturbance was reported to theClermont County and Miami Township police and fire services by residentsof Thielmans Mobile Home Park on State Route 28 near Interstate 275. Attemptsto explain the April 17th incident by various theories such as corona dischargeand ball lightning have been explored.
Unlike the incident two weeks earlier,however, the May 9 disruption was not accompanied by a visible flash oflight.
The weather conditions were as follows:Temperature: 61 degrees, clear skies, high haze. Variable cloudiness towarddaybreak, no moon visible.
May 9, 1997