Bradley Kollar, of Hastings, died of trauma from the blast Tuesday morning, Cambria County Coroner Dennis Kwiatkowski ruled. State police and explosives experts from the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives were continuing Wednesday to investigate what caused the explosion that leveled the home of William Shaner, 44, in Clearfield Township, about 70 miles east of Pittsburgh.
Police confirmed that Shaner and another person were in the home and injured when the blast from Kollar’s nearby truck destroyed it. Shaner remained in critical condition at a Pittsburgh hospital Wednesday.
County 911 dispatchers say the explosion was reported at 8:56 a.m. Tuesday and court records show Kollar had been scheduled for sentencing in Ebensburg, the county seat about 15 miles south of the blast, just four minutes later.
Kollar had previously pleaded guilty to possessing liquid ammonia for a purpose other than agricultural or industrial use. Other charges against Kollar, including illegal dumping of methamphetamine waste and possessing other chemicals used to make the powerful stimulant had either been dropped by prosecutors or dismissed by the court. Other court documents show prosecutors unsuccessfully tried to have Kollar’s bond revoked over concerns he was suicidal, but he remained free on bond.
Those charges grew out of a state police raid last March of Kollar family property. The dead man’s father, John Kollar, 64, was charged with possessing stolen heavy equipment — including a front-end loader — that police said they found on the property. John Kollar is awaiting trial on those charges.
At the time of the raid, police said they found commercial-grade fireworks and an inactive methamphetamine lab on the property. Some chemicals used to make the drug are volatile and potentially explosive.
Bradley Kollar’s attorney, Art McQuillan, told The Associated Press that his client missed Tuesday’s sentencing without explanation. He declined to comment further, as did John Kollar’s attorney, Robert Gleason.
John Kollar told the AP on Tuesday that he was aware his son might have been killed in the explosion several hours before authorities confirmed that, though he said authorities had not been in touch with him about the explosion.
John Kollar also refused to answer whether police were investigating any connection between his son and Shaner’s family.
Investigators have refused to say whether they’ve determined why Bradley Kollar blew up his truck outside the Shaner residence.
“It would be too much of a rush to judgment to speculate on anything,” Trooper John Matchik, a state police spokesman said late Tuesday. “I know that we heard statements before about possible ties to methamphetamine and things like that and that would be premature to indicate anything like that at this time.”
Matchik said Wednesday that he’s unsure how many other details police will be able to provide at a news conference scheduled later in the day.