Investigators: Rifle Test Caused Ore. Bullet Plant Blast

Preliminary investigation determined that a rifle fired in an underground test tunnel at a bullet plant in Bend sparked a fire that set off a large explosion.

BEND, Ore. (AP) -- A preliminary investigation has determined that a rifle fired in an underground test tunnel at a bullet plant in Bend sparked a fire that set off a large explosion earlier this week.

Fire officials told KTVZ-TV on Saturday the rifle was being tested at Nosler Inc. by an employee in a concrete underground firing range used for ballistics testing.

A host of local, state and federal agencies wrapped up their investigation at the scene on Saturday and the building was released to the company.

Nosler officials also released a revised estimated value of $2.8 million for the building and $12.9 million for the contents on Saturday but said its insurance company was not ready to release a damage estimate.

No serious injuries were reported in the Wednesday fire and explosion.

More