A man who made dynamite-like explosives at his home was killed when the house, at the top of “Thrill Hill” near the Brownwood Country Club, exploded and burned early Saturday morning, investigators said.
Scott Grammer, 44, died in the 12:35 a.m. fire at 875 County Road 553, investigators said. His body was found in his bedroom. Grammer’s mother, Rosemary Harlow, escaped from her bedroom with a minor injury, investigators said.
Investigators said a series of explosions ripped through the house. Investigators said they believe an explosion caused the fire but had not determined what caused the initial explosion.
Investigators found components of explosives including black powder and cans, as well as “lots of ammunition” in the home, Brownwood Fire Marshal Buddy Preston said.
Grammer had a storage room filled with dismantled fireworks, Preston said. He said Grammer had taken the powder out of the fireworks and was using it to make “other items.”
“We don’t know exactly what the first explosion was,” Preston said. “(Grammer) had a history of playing with explosives or making his own explosives out of different components of different things.
“He was just making his own explosives for, I’m going to go with, entertainment purposes — just watching things blow up.”
Preston said investigators aren’t sure what Grammer was making in the home at the time of the fire.
He said Grammer was previously investigated by Brownwood police and federal authorities in connection with explosives. The components in the home at the time of the fire would not have caused charges to be filed, Preston said.
County Fire Investigator Onie Carroll said Harlow woke up and saw smoke coming from her son’s room. He said she yelled for him to get out and escaped through a patio door in her bedroom, sustaining a scrape on her arm.
“Neighbors said they heard several explosions,” Carroll said. “We don’t know whether the explosion killed him or the fire.”
The glow from the house fire, on top of the hill just south of Brownwood, could be seen from the downtown area, and lingered for hours.
Brownwood firefighters were assisted at the scene by several county volunteer fire departments, who brought tankers filled with water.
Sheriff’s Sgt. Tony Aaron said the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms has been notified about the fire.