By Jeff Karoub
MONROE, Mich. — A car bomb caused a powerful explosion on a Michigan street that seriously injured a father and his two sons, who are "very fortunate" to have survived the attack, which turned their vehicle into a blackened hunk of metal, a federal official said Wednesday.
Investigators were poring over what remained of the vehicle after the Tuesday evening blast, looking for clues about how the bomb was made and who might have planted it, said Donald Dawkins, a spokesman for the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives.
"There was a lot of power behind it. The victims are very fortunate, very blessed, to be alive," Dawkins said.
Among the things investigators are trying to determine is whether one of the victims was targeted or whether the attack was random, Dawkins said. The vehicle exploded on a tree-lined street under a highway in Monroe, which is about 35 miles southwest of Detroit.
Authorities declined to publicly identify the victims, but said they were in serious condition at St. Vincent Medical Center in Toledo, Ohio, about 20 miles south of Monroe.
The victims were lucky to survive, said Dawkins, who described the attack as a "heinous crime."
"When you have children involved, it really hits home," he said.
Shawn Remington, 33, said he was working outside his home when he heard what sounded like a heavy, metal Dumpster lid being slammed shut and then saw a big column of smoke.
He said when he got to the scene, firefighters were extinguishing the blaze and rescue workers were loading the victims into ambulances. He said the vehicle was "totally melted."
"By the time I got there, there was nothing left of the vehicle," he said. "It was down to bare metal."
Monroe is a city of more than 20,000 that is one of Michigan's oldest communities. It has a historic downtown and is home to furniture maker La-Z-Boy Inc.
The ATF has offered a reward of up to $10,000 for information that leads to an arrest.
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