Tree house blast lands Akron man in jail cell

By Carol McIntire


SHERRODSVILLE – An Akron man remains behind bars after blowing up a tree house at a Sherrodsville residence.

Bond was set at $50,000 cash surety bond (with a 10 percent feature) for Johnnie Ray Nicholas, 40, of Akron, who is accused of using explosives to blow up a tree house at 207 High St., Sherrodsville, on July 13.

Sheriff Dale Williams said Nicholas claimed he placed two M80s (fireworks) in a tree house, ran wires up to it and blew it up. He told deputies he purchased the fire works at an Indian Reservation in West Virginia.

The blast shattered windows in a neighbor’s home, sent debris flying over 300 feet and knocked items off shelves in several area homes.

Debris was found on Dawn Rd. over 300 feet from the where the blast occurred.

One man told the 911 dispatch center officials he was driving on Dawn Rd. nearby and felt his car shake. When he looked back, he saw “a cloud of white smoke and two kids and an adult rolling up wire and running.”

A seven-month old baby was sleeping in a crib beside a window that was shattered in the home of a neighbor. Several callers said the blast caused their homes to shake. Another woman said the blast was so loud, she thought her propane grill blew up.

“Starting a 8:55 p.m., we had numerous calls from neighbors about the blast,” Williams said. “No one was injured, but area residents were upset and scared.”

Three deputies responded to the scene and requested the assistance of the State Fire Marshall’s office. An official collected evidence at the scene. Carroll County Emergency Management Agency Director Tom Cottis also responded to the scene.

Nicholas is charged in Carroll County Municipal Court with one count of inducing panic, a fourth degree felony (F4), unlawful possession of a dangerous ordinance (F5), arson, a first degree misdemeanor (M1) and criminal damaging (M2).

He was scheduled to appear before Municipal Court Judge Gary Willen this Wednesday at 9:45 a.m. to enter a plea to the charges.