GREENE TWP., Pa. (WKBN) – Five workers were hurt during a minor explosion at Combined Systems in western Pennsylvania Friday morning. Later in the day, we talked to some neighbors about what it’s like living near a place that makes tear gas and flash grenades.
Eddie and Patty Howard have 85 acres bordering the CSI property. When they bought it 25 years ago, it was peaceful.
“Then after they moved in, things started changing,” Patty said. “My grandkids would come and my daughters, and they’d say, ‘Boy, it’s awfully noisy, isn’t it?'”
“Sometimes it’s constant, like, ‘boom, boom, boom, boom, boom,'” Eddie said.
Several neighbors said those sounds happen twice a week or more.
For Patty and Eddie, it’s changed how they use their property.
“When I want to go back to the pond to fish, I’m scared to death sometimes because I don’t know when they’re going to shoot things off and it scares me,” Patty said.
Eddie is a retired pastor from Youngstown. He and Patty have held a couple of veterans bike runs and wanted to have more. They can’t, however, because of fears about post-traumatic stress disorder (PTSD).
“That’s out of the picture now because we don’t know when they’re going to shoot, how often,” Eddie said.
The Howards have found some plastic pieces on their property, which they believe are parts from the products being made next door. It can be worrisome.
“Who knows what they’re making? We have no idea,” Patty said. “With the chemicals and the things out there today, I worry about those kinds of things, especially with my grandchildren.”
Their two grandchildren like to fish in a pond on the property, but that quiet team is often interrupted by loud booms and smoke.
The Howards have no clue if it’s a danger to breathe. They just long for the days of that open field next door.
“Our idea for using the property for serenity and peace, I don’t ever see it being there unless they take their stuff and shoot it some other place,” Eddie said.
The Howards said no one from CSI has ever come to talk to them.
We went to the company’s main office Friday and asked for information about the explosion — to talk to the plant manager or someone in the company who would just explain what happened. CSI chose not to make any comment.