Utah plans to resume cannon fire in Provo Canyon after safety review
December 8, 2005
PROVO, Utah – The Utah Department of Transportation is preparing to resume using a cannon for avalanche control in Provo Canyon, and believes it can do so this time without shelling any neighborhoods.Cannon fire is used to trigger snowslides in vulnerable areas before the snow can accumulate to the point of threatening a dangerous avalanche.Last March 23, however, an errant 105mm howitzer round went over a hill and into the back yard of Lori and Scott Connors. The explosion sent shrapnel through their house, damaged the homes of several neighbors and left a gaping crater in their yard.No one was wounded. But Lori Connors said the experience still frightens her and her 4-year-old son.”When he says his prayers at night he says ‘Please don’t let a bomb hit our house,'” she said.He also asks whether shrapnel can penetrate brick and if they can live in a brick house.The Army shell was pre-packed with seven bags of propellant, and the avalanche safety workers, on a mountaintop near Sundance, were supposed to remove two of those bags before firing. The round was supposed to go less than 4,000 yards, but instead flew about 9,000 yards.The loader was blamed for failing to remove two of those bags, and the assistant gunner for failing to confirm the shell was loaded properly, according to the department.