Update: 'Mythbusters' Says 'Safety Protocol Followed' on Set That Shot Cannonball Into a Dublin Neighborhood

Cannonball was shot from Alameda County Sheriff's bomb squad range, traveling through a house, across Tassajara Road and into a parked car.

A cannonball that was misfired during the filming of an episode of  "Mythbusters" struck a Dublin Ranch home Tuesday afternoon then careened across a busy road and ended up inside a van parked in a driveway.

Amazingly, no one was hurt in the 4:15 p.m. incident during which a 5.5-inch projectile struck a two-story home on Cassata off of Old Westbury Way near Tassajara Road in east Dublin.

Apparently, the cannonball went through the house while the occupants were asleep, then exited the structure and bounced across Tassajara and into a parked car, breaking its glass and landing inside the vehicle.

The Alameda County Sheriff's Department is investigating the incident and has shut down the bomb range in the meantime.

The department's bomb squad often works with the popular Discovery Channel show because its creators are based in the Bay Area and often film in the East Bay.

The show was using a cannon it had built about two years ago and had used multiple times, said Sheriff's spokesman J.D. Nelson, who regularly assists the production. The cannonball was supposed to go through barrels of water and through a cinder block wall, but instead, due to a "misfire," it went over the barrels, struck a hill and bounced off the range.

"It took a very unfortunate bounce that sent the ball skyward and out of the range," Nelson told media at the scene Tuesday evening.

He said it was a case of "tremendous bad luck" that ended up being "tremendous good luck" because there were no injuries.

Nelson said the three occupants of the home, including one child, slept through the cannonball strike but were awoken by dust from the aftermath settling onto their faces.

Dublin resident Jasbir Gill, who lives at the corner of Springvale and Bellavue, said the cannonball landed inside his mini-van. He said he was inside the house  at the time but had been in the van with his kids just five to 10 minutes earlier.

"I thought it was only a window, but I looked inside and the whole dash was smashed," said Gill. "It's scary."

The Sheriff's Department's shooting range and bomb squad training facility is used often by "Mythbusters," said Livermore Patch columnist Susan Young, an entertainment writer familiar with the show, which is known for concocting strange experiments to test wacky theories.

Nelson said the television show has used the county's bomb range more than 50 times for experiments and filming.

"We never even had any kind of an incident let alone anything this terrible," Nelson said.

Discovery Channel and Beyond Productions emailed Young the following statement:

On Tuesday, December 6, 2011, MythBusters, produced for Discovery Channel by Beyond Productions, was filming on a closed set at the Alameda County Sheriff’s Department bomb range in Alameda County, California. During the testing, a cannonball took an unforeseen bounce from a safety berm. No injuries were reported, but damage was reported in one Dublin home and one parked car.  Sgt. J.D. Nelson, Public Information Officer and bomb technician for the Alameda County Sheriff’s office, who is a regular safety explosives expert for MythBusters, was on site and all proper safety protocol was observed. Beyond Productions is currently assessing the situation and working with those whose property was affected.

Nelson said the TV crew responded by sending a senior producer to the affected residents and arranged to meet with their insurers.

"They (the 'MythBusters' crew) are insured for these kinds of things," he said.

— Bay City News service contributed to this report.

David Ross December 09, 2011 at 04:08 AM
While the Mythbusters don't pay rent (which I think they should), they do provide buildings and other improvements to the training range. Believe the bullet came from Camp Roberts and not the sheriff's range. Camp Roberts has since stopped using the firing range. There's one group of people to blame for the government being out of control and out of touch with the people: the voters. Next time you vote, take a look at voter pamphlet and see how many people that are NOT running on the Democan or Repbulicrat tickets. Don't listen to the media -- vote for third parties. Don't let people tell you that if you vote for a third party candidate that you are wasting your vote. The ONLY wasted vote is the one that's not cast.
mike Grant December 09, 2011 at 04:25 AM
David, while agree with you I don't think the third party is any better than what we have now. A Grand Jury needs to be put in place and look into this and see if any laws have been broken with regards to the use of public property or funds being used.
Rich Buckley December 09, 2011 at 03:33 PM
Dave, Yes I do hold a warm spot in my heart for 3rd-Party efforts. But the best we ever seem to achieve is a blip! If Patch could just land fully solvent on the right set of online "Elections" platform features and enable their local Editors automous privileges to restructure Election coverage with features Local editors choose, I think Patch could prove out to be as potent as any third party in history. Just posting total "page views" for example, would soon enough convince incumbents, they either get down among the common folks and mix it up with us, or they see their polls decline in real time, real fast. I don't know what threshold of relevancy would have to be attained before the "Elections" section was viewed as meaningful to an incumbent, but I should think 20-point swings away from the Incumbent would awaken them from their otherwise tone deafness.
Janice P Ellis December 09, 2011 at 08:33 PM
I had no idea that Mythbusters does a lot of their filming in our own back yard! I'm sure some of the nearby homeowners had no idea either before they purchased homes in that area. When you look at everything that happened, it's really a miracle that no one was injured or killed. That would have been some kind of experiment to watch from beginning to end though. Even just seeing the thing fly across Tassajara Road would have been memorable! I would feel horrible if I was the person who fired the cannon. : /
JJ December 10, 2011 at 04:12 AM
This is not the fault of the home owners, it is the fault of JD Nelson and his penchant to show boat on MB. Bomb squads Sergeants are typically not experts. Generally they are just senior officers who later will go to a few basic (they think they are advanced) bomb squad courses that get them basic qualified that way they can run a squad. Its more about management then anything. Now JD may have more background then that but it still does not make him a ballistic expert. With that said it didn't take a expert to realize this experiment was not safe to conduct at that range. Just a little basic research would have identified that. Along with basic common sense and a fire arms safety mindset, i would assume any cop worth his salt would know you always be sure of your target and WHAT IS BEHIND IT. The department should be ashamed and held accountable. This is gross negligence on the part of the Sheriffs department.


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