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.

Jeremy Titus December 07, 2011 at 03:42 AM
Why were they asleep at 4:30pm? The story makes it seem like it was late at night.
Clay Goetz December 07, 2011 at 03:52 AM
I was at the scene for a little while this evening. Crappy iPhone photos and info: @claygoetz on twitter.
Rich Buckley December 07, 2011 at 02:30 PM
Hi Kids,  Don't try this at home; we are highly trained professionals. Next on Myth Busters: Chemtrails are good not bad-- http://tinyurl.com/3jbyual JH
Andy Smith December 07, 2011 at 02:38 PM
Why are you talking about moon-bat stuff like Chemtrails on this article? Yes, I watched your YouTube videos, and what you are filming is NOTHING. It's normal for jets to leave a trail like that behind, depending on atmospheric conditions. Pleasanton and Livermore are under "jet routes", which are essentially highways in the sky. The reason you see a pattern is because passenger jets are flying on a jet route. It is not some big government conspiracy. How about this---the next time you see a "secret government plane" spraying "deadly chemicals" from the sky, why don't you look at the radar in real time so that you can see it's just a Southwest Airlines plane taking people somewhere? Geez, this chemtrail discussion never ends. It's like the Ron Paul people--they pop up everywhere. Here is the live radar link: http://planefinder.net/
Al Shumate December 07, 2011 at 03:10 PM
Here’s the thing, a bomb range does not translate as an artillery range. While both involve explosives, an artillery piece is designed to send an explosive far down range. Whereas a bomb range the projectile does not travel anywhere unless you are donating a fragmentation device then you need to determine the maximum fragmentation radius. Artillery needs at the very least twice the distance of its maximum range and if you are using shrapnel rounds you need to calculate the bursting radius if the fragments. Sounds to me like the “Mythbusters” need to hire a Gun Bunny because doing stunts do not translate into artillery.
Rich Buckley December 07, 2011 at 03:39 PM
Thank you Andy. As a former fighter pilot I have always kept mental note of "Commercial" flights verses "Intra-area flights" and cross check with current approach and departure patterns. Your link may be of positive contribution in areas of research. It may aid Sky Watch as indicated 13 minutes into Peterson's video The Premiere Chemtrail Expert, Rosalind Peterson   http://youtu.be/DTxvWLrUeE8
Andy Smith December 07, 2011 at 03:52 PM
To Rich Buckley (I can't find a way to "Reply" to your comment directly--there is no Reply button present): This is some kooky stuff that the video is talking about. I watched from 13 to 16 minutes, and she is drawing the wrong conclusion from the information presented. If you truly were a pilot (in modern times), then you know that ATC will vector you for traffic. You might be flying IFR on a jet route, but you could be deviated from that route due to turbulence, weather, traffic, or some other issue. Thus, a plane will "turn". No, they do not fly around in circles around a county as the woman indicates in the video. Why do people believe this crazy stuff?
Michael Austin December 07, 2011 at 04:16 PM
Sheriff's spokesmen JD Nelson stated there "has never been any kind of incident". I recall a story a year or so ago someone was killed on the set of mithbusters. It may not have been at the range where the cannon was fired yesterday.
Andy Smith December 07, 2011 at 04:29 PM
Nobody has ever been killed during the filming of Mythbusters. The death that you heard about was a man who sometimes appeared on the show when they did myth's involving rockets. He was the "rocket expert". That man died by falling through a skylight opening at building he was working on (his brother owned the building). It had nothing at all to do with Mythbusters.
Michael Austin December 07, 2011 at 05:12 PM
Andy Smith, Thank you for that clearification.
Rich Buckley December 07, 2011 at 06:33 PM
"Why do people believe this crazy stuff?" Experience, common sense, the weight of scientific evidence, a need to seek truth, to help awaken the walking dead and of course the debunkers, to name a few.
P December 07, 2011 at 06:48 PM
Question: Why is the Sheriff department playing with cannons instead of sovling and preventing crime? I also would like to know who is getting fired over at the Sheriff Office over this? Firing a freaking cannon ball into a residential neighborhood! Time to let Mythbusters find another place for their unbelievably irresponsible experiments. Our sheriff office facilities are used "more than 50 times" by Mythbusters? What in the world is going on at Alameda County Sheriff offices? Lets use our police resources to fight crime instead of being wannabe TV stars.
Kathy December 07, 2011 at 06:57 PM
Mythbusters was playing with cannons, not the Sherrif's department. And my guess is the show pays for their use of the range, giving money needed to a department that gets more and more budget cuts every year. They have also been using that range for years. The range has been there long before houses. The irresponsible parties are developers building homes that close to a firing range. Accidents happen. It's not like Mythbusters was trying to figure out what it took to fire a cannon into a house.
Rich Buckley December 07, 2011 at 07:30 PM
My eyes are so filled with tears from laughter I may not be reading the original article clearly .... like what were MythBusters trying to de-myth? Sorry... I'll try and get a grip.
P December 07, 2011 at 07:49 PM
Just so I understand - the Sheriff Department rents out the firing range, and lets the Mythbuster clowns fire a freaking cannon ball into a subdivision with no supervision from said Sheriff Department. Uh....I don't think so! "Accidents happen" is not a good defense. Neither is "the Mythbuster crew is insured for these sort of things". Neither is "its the developers fault for building houses there". Gross negligence and misuse of public property and public employees is more likely what is going on. Just my opinion!
Rich Buckley December 07, 2011 at 08:13 PM
Still recovering with tears in eyes from laughter, forgive me please .... I think we should try and guess ... what possibly MythBusters is up to. Many war diaries report watching cannon balls falling into the city during the siege. My guess is MythBusters were trying to prove yes indeed one can visually track and watch a cannon ball after it's fired.
Rich Buckley December 07, 2011 at 08:18 PM
....well, until it ricochets over the hill, through the neighbor's house, and embeds itself into the family car.
p December 07, 2011 at 09:48 PM
The range, both gun and bomb, were there long before the houses. You buy next to a bomb range you should know what you have known.
David Ross December 08, 2011 at 12:01 AM
NO! It is not a misuse of public property. As long as the range is rented (i.e. money goes from Myth Busters to the sheriff's department), I see nothing wrong with them (or any other group) using the range.
Andrew December 08, 2011 at 02:36 AM
All I know is I would be in jail if shot a cannon ball through someones house but I guess because the sheriffs department said its ok nobody cares.......
D December 08, 2011 at 06:29 AM
You'd rather Discovery Channel spend money in another county?
Tara Nebeker December 08, 2011 at 12:39 PM
Um, seeing that it was an accident, that the Sheriff's department was already there monitoring them, that no one was hurt, that the tv cast and crew are not only willing to pay damages but are working with them to find out what happened, why and how to prevent it, and that the investigation is still underway with no charges pressed yet, I highly doubt no one cares - especially those involved.
Tara Nebeker December 08, 2011 at 12:44 PM
Dude. This is proof that accidents happen. And the fact that they are willing to cover the damages caused with their own insurance is them showing the exact opposite of negligence - responsibility. Freak accidents like this happen - it's why safety regulations are changed every so often. And that's why they are working to help put things right.
Derek Strachan December 08, 2011 at 08:11 PM
Accidents happen and it's obvious from what I've seen with Adam and Jamie in interviews since that they feel awful about not only what happened but what could have happened. I think Mythbusters will definately take even more precautions than they already do and hopefully they keep using the range...at least their show has educational benefits unlike so many other shows on Discovery.
mike Grant December 09, 2011 at 04:01 AM
Just another example of how out of touch the Alameda Sheriff office is with the community. I wonder how many things go on out at this facility that we don't know about and we are paying for. But I must say that at least they did not shoot another homeless guy like the Dublin PD (Alameda Renta cops) did earlier this year. Back to the Sheriff office, allowing this group from Hollywood to use OUR Tax payers facility for tv. Further more why would the Dublin City Council let them keep shooting inside our city limits? They already had a bullet leave the property and go over the berm into some ones window. And how many of the officers are standing around when this is going on getting paid to watch? I think we should have head count reduction at the sheriff department and save the tax payers some funds. What about the County supervisors? Are they a sleep at the wheel or what! Goverment out of control!!!
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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