Share This Page

New Kensington man injures self in pipe bomb explosion

| Thursday, Sept. 12, 2013, 12:03 p.m.
Jason Bridge | Valley News Dispatch
New Kensington ambulance crews transport Gregory Domanski, 50, after police say he was injured by a homemade bomb that exploded at 860 Seventh St., the house next to his own, in New Kensington on Thursday, Sept. 12, 2013. Police charged Domanski with arson for allegedly setting the bomb.
Jason Bridge | Valley News Dispatch
New Kensington ambulance crews transport Gregory Domanski, 50, after police say he was injured by a homemade bomb that exploded at the house next to his on Seventh Street in New Kensington on Thursday, Sept. 12, 2013. Police believe that Domanski was responsible.
Jason Bridge | Valley News Dispatch
New Kensington police officer Paul Manke secures the scene at 860 Seventh St. as ambulance crews treat a patient next door on the porch after an alleged bomb went off at that address on Thursday, Sept. 12, 2013.
Jason Bridge | Valley News Dispatch
New Kensington police officer Jim Horwatt secures the scene after an alleged bomb went off at 860 Seventh St. in New Kensington on Thursday, Sept. 12, 2013.
Eric Felack | Valley News Dispatch
With Allegheny County Bomb Squad personnel in front of the house, New Kensington Police Chief Tom Klawinski and officer Paul Manke work at the scene on Seventh Street where, pilice say, a man attempted to blow up an adjacent vacant house on Thursday, Sept. 12, 2013.

A New Kensington man who police said set off an explosive near his home on Seventh Street on Thursday morning had threatened to burn down abandoned buildings on the street, according to neighbors.

Police say Gregory Domanski, 50, placed the device next to a natural gas meter at an abandoned home within feet of his own house at 858 Seventh St.

The gas at the abandoned house at 860 Seventh St. had recently been turned off because the home is scheduled for demolition by the city, said Detective Lt. Jim Klein.

Although Domanski didn't give police a reason for setting off the explosive, he apparently was upset with the dilapidated state of the vacant home, Klein said. The front porch had collapsed and numerous windows were broken.

“We're not sure if it was an accident or intentional,” New Kensington police Chief Tom Klawinski said of the explosion, which occurred about 10:15 a.m.

Klein said the explosive was either a pipe bomb or a homemade mortar. Visible near the gas meter was a 3-inch plastic pipe mounted vertically on top of a square piece of wood.

The Allegheny County Bomb Squad searched the home Thursday afternoon and found no explosives or similar devices.

Domanski suffered a severe hand injury and head lacerations and was taken by ambulance to Allegheny General Hospital in Pittsburgh. His condition was not disclosed.

Police had not been called to the home before, Klawinski said.

Neighbors said Domanski has a history of strange behavior. Court documents show he has been arrested for drunken driving, public intoxication, simple assault and disorderly conduct.

Next-door neighbor Kathie Thorhauer said she wrote Domanski's behavior off as more of an annoyance than a danger — until Thursday's incident.

“I'm scared. It's finally hitting me,” she said. “What if that line would have exploded? Would I have had enough time to get out?”

She said the blast was so powerful that it shook her house.

“All of the pictures fell off the wall,” Thorhauer said. Two windows closest to the blast shattered, she said.

Holly Thorn, 23, a neighbor who said she's known Domanski and his daughter for most of her life, said she ran into Domanski's home after she heard the explosion and Domanski yelling for help.

She said she could do little when she saw his mangled hand inside a plastic bag he was using to cover the injury.

Thorn said Domanski has had problems lately.

“He used to be a nice guy over the years, but I think things that have happened to him over the years has taken a toll,” she said. “It's mentally and physically gotten to him.”

Jodi Weigand is a staff writer for Trib Total Media. She can be reached at jweigand@tribweb.com.

TribLIVE commenting policy

You are solely responsible for your comments and by using TribLive.com you agree to our Terms of Service.

We moderate comments. Our goal is to provide substantive commentary for a general readership. By screening submissions, we provide a space where readers can share intelligent and informed commentary that enhances the quality of our news and information.

While most comments will be posted if they are on-topic and not abusive, moderating decisions are subjective. We will make them as carefully and consistently as we can. Because of the volume of reader comments, we cannot review individual moderation decisions with readers.

We value thoughtful comments representing a range of views that make their point quickly and politely. We make an effort to protect discussions from repeated comments either by the same reader or different readers

We follow the same standards for taste as the daily newspaper. A few things we won't tolerate: personal attacks, obscenity, vulgarity, profanity (including expletives and letters followed by dashes), commercial promotion, impersonations, incoherence, proselytizing and SHOUTING. Don't include URLs to Web sites.

We do not edit comments. They are either approved or deleted. We reserve the right to edit a comment that is quoted or excerpted in an article. In this case, we may fix spelling and punctuation.

We welcome strong opinions and criticism of our work, but we don't want comments to become bogged down with discussions of our policies and we will moderate accordingly.

We appreciate it when readers and people quoted in articles or blog posts point out errors of fact or emphasis and will investigate all assertions. But these suggestions should be sent via e-mail. To avoid distracting other readers, we won't publish comments that suggest a correction. Instead, corrections will be made in a blog post or in an article.