Columbus Fire Officials Declare False Alarm After Nuclear Reactor Concerns

Dec 6, 2019

A northwest Columbus man faces inducing panic charges and a mandatory mental health screening after fire officials say his 911 call prompted concerns about a possible small nuclear reactor inside his garage.

Battalion Fire Chief Steve Martin says the man called 911 around 6:30 p.m. Thursday to say he suffered radio frequency burns while building a quantum physics generator inside the garage of his home in the 6300 block of Chippenhook Court.

Martin says the man used terms including “radiation,” “alpha waves” and “particle accelerator.”

“It was enough that we didn’t fully comprehend what we were dealing with, and we have a basic familiarity with some of those words, so we’re thinking a possible radiation situation,” Martin says.

Martin says authorities evacuated about 18 nearby homes. Authorities let residents return to their homes about three hours later.

Martin says there’s no sign that the man intended to harm anyone, but fire officials still decided to bring charges.

“Intentions doesn’t always mean you didn’t do the wrong thing, so that’s why we filed charges,” Martin says.

The man remained under a mandatory hospitalization Friday morning.