East Bay News

Producers hold town hall over cannonball mishap

Saturday, December 17, 2011

A community meeting was held on Saturday in Dublin to discuss the MythBusters cannonball incident.

Earlier this month, a cannonball misfired during production of the show, damaging two homes and a minivan. There is still a hole in the wall where the cannonball went through one home.

It was revealed on Saturday that an Alameda County deputy supervised the set-up of the cannon test, but was not right there when it was fired. Additionally, there is video of the incident, but producers of the show won't release it during the investigation.

The executive producer of MythBusters faced dozens of Dublin residents on Saturday, promising the show wouldn't conduct any more experiments like the one that backfired last week.

"We will never, ever shoot a cannon at the facility again," said executive producer Dan Tapster.

Not every neighbor was so certain.

"There's a lot of reliance on, and talk about safety, but still something foreseeable happened and I just am not assured by statements that it will never happen again," said resident Catharine Baker.

Alameda County authorities displayed the home-made cannon that was used to launch the 18-pound metal ball on Dec. 6. The ball shot through a nearby neighborhood.

The TV show crew was using the county's training range, aiming into water barrels. The crew fired an actual cannon twice, but when they brought in their home-made cannon, the ball missed the barrels and tore through a cinderblock wall behind the target.

The six-inch ball bounced up the hill, ripped through a home where a child was sleeping, flew across Tassajara Road and into another house and an SUV.

"Firing a projectile out of a cannon, we did not take into account a worst-case scenario, which is exactly what occurred," said Sheriff Gregh Ahern. "We thought that the safety precautions were in place to have the water barrels and the cinderblock wall and a brim behind the firing."

The meeting also brought out supporters of the show.

"You know their safety is really important," said resident Michael Emerson. "This, to me, is just a mistake that happened. No one's perfect."

The MythBusters team also turned it into a publicity event, providing a free hamburger lunch for residents, and having the hosts of the show give free t-shirts and autographs.

"Residents are entitled to feel safe in their neighborhoods, and we want them to feel safe" said MythBusters host Jamie Hyneman.

The insurance company for the show is paying to repair the damage, though producers wouldn't say how much.

Last year, MythBusters paid Alameda County $20,000 to use the facility for its experiments. The sheriff's department is reviewing safety procedures at the range, which is closed during the investigation.

(Copyright ©2014 KGO-TV. All Rights Reserved.)

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alameda county, dublin, explosion, television, east bay news
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