A loud explosion shook the neighborhood around 28 Poppy Lane in Palm Coast early this morning, drawing a response from the Flagler County Sheriff’s Office, a road closure and the summoning of the St. Johns County Sheriff’s bomb squad.
School buses were redirected from the area, and students asked to avoid it. Poppy lane is a relatively short street that connects to two ends of Poplar Drive, which branch off of Ponce de Leon in the city’s P Section. The sheriff’s Crime Scene Investigation unit was also at the scene, as was the Palm Coast Fire Department. The state fire marshal was also dispatched, as was a K-9 unit.
“We did respond to a report of a loud explosion this morning, and when we arrived we found some evidence that there’d been something occur,” Palm Coast Acting Fire Chief Kyle Berryhill said. There was no active hazard. The scene was cleared to enable the sheriff’s investigation to continue. The state fire marshal aside, the local fire department is not involved in the investigation.
The explosion, heard as far south as the areas of Royal Palms Parkway and Point Pleasant Drive, was reported shortly after 5 a.m. It wasn’t initially clear whether it came from within the house or outside of it. Residents reported it smelled like fireworks. Transformers explode atop utility poles from time to time, with bright flashes and explosive bangs that can be heard throughout a neighborhood. In this case, however, a hole in the ground was reported in the property’s yard, and there were early indications that a makeshift device was the source of the explosion.
“We saw nothing to indicate that it would be a transformer,” Berryhill said. “We’re not in the determination business per se, once it gets in the investigation level.”
Eric Robinson, 30, the resident at the Poppy Lane address, has been on community control, or house arrest, after failing to successfully complete a three-year drug-offender probation term for cocaine possession and tampering with evidence. Last July his probation officer filed a probation-violation report charging that he’d not been making his required payments–he was $360 in arrears, according to the report–even though he’d been working at a boat manufacturer’s in Volusia County. His probation was revoked on Aug. 5.
The property at 28 Poppy is adjacent to that of Carol Bacha, known as Mother Elizabeth, the former candidate for Flagler County School Board in 2020 and for Palm Coast mayor last July.