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Home  >  Topics  >  Explosives - EOD

April 06, 2012
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TASER used at scene of car explosion that burned border agent

According to TASER training experts, specific factors would need to be in place in order for the device to cause a fire

By PoliceOne Staff

PINE VALLEY, Calif. — An investigation is under way into the cause of a car explosion, with experts saying it's possible but unlikely the use of a TASER was to blame.

A U.S. Border Patrol agent reportedly pulled over a wrong-way driver in Pine Valley March 15, and an explosion occurred during the stop, according to 10 News. The officer was hospitalized with burns on his face, and driver Alex Martin, 24, died.

According to TASER training experts, specific factors would need to be in place in order for the device to cause an explosion.

"The possibility is there, but it has to be what we call 'the perfect storm'… the perfect fuel-to-air-to-spark ratio," Keiko Arroyo, chief instructor at Absolute Tactical Training in University Heights, told the website.

"It would have to be the right amount of gas and fume mixture in the air to set it off… It's possible, but probably not probable."

It is unclear whether Martin did something to himself that would have led to the fire.

"The scenario could be very likely if the person was actually dousing himself and getting Tased [sic] at the same," Arroyo said.

A statement released by the San Diego Office of Customs and Border Protection said, "Agents at the Old Highway 80 checkpoint deployed a Controlled Tire Deflation Device, and the vehicle came to a stop shortly thereafter. A TASER was deployed when the driver failed to comply with the agent’s commands to exit the vehicle. An explosion occurred.

The San Diego Sheriff’s Department responded to the scene and is continuing the investigation of the incident to include the cause of the explosion."

The San Diego Sheriff’s Homicide Unit is investigating the death of Martin, whose family has retained a lawyer but not yet pursued legal action.

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