Last Updated: Saturday, April 15, 3:55 p.m.
Update, April 15, 3:55 p.m.–Michael Philip Blum, a 45-year-old resident of 18 Felter Lane, was arrested in connection with the unexplained suspected explosion in a swale at Fernwood Lane and Fleetwood Drive in Palm Coast Friday afternoon, a short distance from Blum’s house.
Blum was booked at the Flagler County jail early this morning on a felony charge of making, possessing or throwing or discharging a destructive device, a felony.
He was also charged with violating his probation. Last February, facing up to 10 years in prison on charges of carrying a gun without a permit and a drug charge, he pleaded and was sentenced to three years on drug-offender probation. One of the conditions barred him from possessing any weapons. He had originally faced a burglary charge as well. That charge was dropped.
The person who reported the alleged burglary in the house next door September 2021 reported to police that she heard a lot of noise and saw a white cargo van and two men outside the van. Witnesses who reported the explosion or suspicious activity in the F Section on Friday reported seeing a white van–with the tag of 02AMMF–which was later found parked in front of one of the buildings of the Palm Club Condominiums. Deputies and a bomb squad searched the van there today.
In the September 2021 incident, the two men attempted to burglarize the house on Collingwood Lane, but failed. Blum was at the wheel of the white van when deputies stopped him shortly afterward. He was found in possession of fentanyl. A loaded handgun was also located in the van, with eight rounds of ammunition. Blum’s concealed carry permit had expired. (The Legislature last month approved a bill eliminating the requirement for concealed carry permits.)
Blum has already violated his probation once before, when he failed a urine sample: he tested positive for THC. In mid-December, he was cited for driving the same 2017 white Chevy cargo van on a suspended license. The charge was dropped.
The earlier update from today is below.
Bomb Squad Searches Unit at Palm Club Condominiums in Connection With Suspicious Explosion
>Update, Saturday, April 15, 1 p.m.—Flagler County Sheriff’s deputies were serving a search warrant at 50 Club House Drive–the Palm Club Condominiums–and evacuating some of the units nearest to the one being searched there in connection with Friday’s reports of a suspicious package and small explosion in Palm Coast’s F Section.
A sighting of a van matching the description witnesses gave police on Friday led to the Club House Drive address. The van was parked there. The search warrant was being executed by members of the Flagler County Sheriff’s Office and the St. Johns Sheriff’s Office’s Explosive Disposal Unit this morning between 10:30 and 11 a.m.
The development follows the gathering of several video surveillance clips from houses and other locations around the intersection of Fernwood Lane and Fleetwood Drive, where the explosive device–if that’s what it was–went off.
A Flagler County Fire Rescue unit and a fire engine were standing by near the condo units, as a precautionary measure.
Yesterday’s article is below.
‘Suspicious Package’ and Reports of Small Explosion in F-Section Swale Calls Out Bomb Squad
April 14–The Flagler County Sheriff’s Office is investigating a suspicious package, and possibly a small explosion, in a swale in the area of Fernwood Lane and Fleetwood Drive in Palm Coast. The device may have gone off between 1:30 and 2 p.m.
The area was the subject of a heavy police presence from 2 to 5:30 p.m., when all roads were reopened. Then investigation continues, Sheriff Rick Staly said.
The Sheriff’s Office called in the bomb squad from the St. Johns County Sheriff’s Office to assist, as the squad generally does when suspicious packages are reported.
Whatever it is, the device caused some smoke to emerge from a swale drain. There was no damage or any injuries. The location is a block away from Florida Park Drive in the F Section. Some witnesses reported seeing suspicious activity involving a white van around the time of the incident.
Roadblocks had been set up at Fleetwood Drive and Florida Park Drive, and at Fleetwood and Fischer Lane.
Authorities were canvassing the area for surveillance video footage from homes and nearby organizations. The incident caused a heavy presence of sheriff’s deputies in the area, and a request from the Sheriff’s Office to avoid the neighborhood.
“It’s still an active investigation we are waiting or the Saint Johns County Office’s Explosive Disposal unit to arrive,” Staly said at 3:30 p.m. “Then we’ll look at it safely and determine what it is, maybe how it got there, those kinds of things. I just want to re-emphasize it’s an active investigation. I don’t want to compromise the investigation saying too much.”
“It’s my understanding that we did receive cals about a small boom I guess would be the best way to describe it, and when deputies got there they did see something else suspicious, so were handling it with an abundance of caution for the deputies and the community so that nobody gets hurt.”
No one is being asked to evacuate, but some roads have been blocked off. “We have not done any evacuations,” the sheriff said. The incident is handled as a “worst case scenario, even though it may not be.”
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