The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives investigated a possible explosive device found early Monday while responding to a fire at a mobile home.

Inside the burned home, authorities located what appeared to be a partially constructed explosive device while responding to the fire in the 1300 block of Slawson Lane just south of Killeen’s city limits.

Bell County Sheriff’s Office spokesman Lt. Donnie Adams said the device is a container full of smokeless gun powder with several wires coming out of it. The device had no trigger and was not capable of exploding in its present state.

However, authorities asked for the aid of the ATF and Fort Hood Explosive Ordnance Disposal to remove the device.

Authorities received a call at 4:38 a.m. about a fire at a mobile home where they believed squatters stayed.

Bell County Fire Marshal Steve Casey said the fire was extinguished with no injuries; however, the mobile home was a total loss.

Police took a 53-year-old man into custody on suspicion of arson, Adams said.

He was charged, and the fire marshal’s office has concluded questioning him, Casey said.

The ATF examined the device and agents chose not to pursue a criminal investigation against him.

The device recovered “does not meet the definition of an explosive device under federal law,” said Special Agent Franceska Perot.

While headed to Bell County Jail, the detained man reported chest pains. Deputies took him to the Harker Heights Fire Department, where he was treated and taken to an unspecified local hospital.

Former soldier Naser Abdo, who was convicted last year of a 2011 terrorist plot involving detonating an explosive device at a local restaurant, intended to build bombs containing smokeless powder. The substance’s intended use is for the assembly of ammunition.

Contact Philip Jankowski at or (254) 501-7553

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