Mysterious Maryland Blasts Turn Out to Be Fireworks

Mysterious middle-of-the-night blasts and flashes of light had residents of Pikesville, Md., puzzled for months — and now a man has been charged with fireworks-related violations.

Frederick Lee Mackler, 59, was being held on $1 million bail, facing charges of possession of fireworks without a permit, reckless endangerment and controlled dangerous substance violations.

The arrest, announced Tuesday, came days after police in the Baltimore suburb set up cameras and recorded the flashes that lit up an area the size of a football field.

After examining shadows created by the explosions and other clues, police concluded they came from Mackler's fourth-floor condominium.

Investigators later searched Mackler's home and found pyrotechnics, illegal narcotics and firearms, authorities said.

Officials did not return calls Wednesday morning seeking an update on his status.

Neighbors said they had heard the noises repeatedly since September, always between midnight and dawn and accompanied by bright flashes.

Neighbor Barbara Friedman said the first time she heard the blast she thought someone was shooting at her.

Utility workers had ruled out electrical problems or gas leaks that could explain the problem. Police had also looked in vain for burn marks on the ground.