CRIME
10/10/2013 12:42 pm ET

Burglars Killed Using Torch To Open Safe Full Of Fireworks

Two men believed to be burglarizing a safe full of fireworks were killed Tuesday when the torch they were using ignited the explosives.

Police say Lucas Bourke and Ethan Keeler, both 21, died following an explosion in a detached workshop at New Yard Landscaping in Hopkinton, N.H., according to WCVB. They were reportedly using an oxy-acetylene cutting torch to get into the 4-foot-high, concrete-lined safe.

Bourke and Keeler apparently didn't know what was in the safe. The contents turned out to be commercial-grade fireworks, CBS News reports. A neighbor told reporters that the two men had already loaded some items into a truck before they tried to cut through the safe.

The safe exploded and ripped through the building, landing outside.

"Any time you have pyrotechnics sealed in a container, when it burns, it creates very high pressure that burns very rapidly, and that's what caused the explosion," said Deputy Chief Robert Farley of the state Fire Marshal's Office.

Both of the suspects had previous brushes with the law. In May, Bourke was charged with unlawful possession of alcohol, Concord Patch reports, and Keeler was arrested on charges of receiving stolen property.

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