Police Destroy ‘Pipe Bombs’; Raid Leads to Controlled Detonations, Two Arrests

By Maggie Cassidy
Valley News Staff Writer

Hartford — The Vermont State Police Bomb Squad detonated two “pipe bombs” following a raid at a Gifford Road home on Friday and police have charged a man and a woman with multiple drug offenses.

Police have not said what led to the raid, which occurred just down the street from Hartford High School. Kyle Fellows, 52, of Hartford, and Samantha Caldwell, 31, of Windsor, were arrested at the home, where a large quantity of crack cocaine, bath salts, methamphetamine and 2 pounds of explosives were seized during the execution of a search warrant, according to a statement from the Hartford Police Department. 

A second search at Fellows’ place of business, which police did not name, yielded 61 bags of heroin, an ounce of methamphetamine and other drugs, according to police.

Both Fellows and Caldwell are being held at Southern State Correctional Facility in Springfield, Vt., on $100,000 and $50,000 bonds, respectively.

Both are scheduled to be arraigned on Monday in Windsor County Superior Court on a slew of charges.

Police charged Fellows with possession of explosive devices, crack cocaine trafficking, resisting arrest and possession.

Police charged Caldwell with crack cocaine trafficking and possession.

During the search of the home, police also recovered several firearms and cases of ammunition.

Earlier in the day, police confirmed that four people were taken into custody, but only Fellows and Caldwell had been charged. Police were not available for comment on Friday evening.

Police said the pipe bombs found in the home were functional, resulting in the controlled detonations. The devices contained binary explosives, which means two separate components are mixed together to produce an explosion.

“It sounded like a big Fourth of July explosion,” said neighbor Bonnie Briggs, who has lived for decades on Gifford Road in the densely populated neighborhood near Hartford High School and the Hartford Area Career and Technology Center.

The bomb squad and other police vehicles remained on the scene in the afternoon but officers and troopers there declined comment.

Briggs said she noticed three Hartford police cruisers and one from Windsor outside the home directly south of hers around 8 a.m.

More cruisers showed up throughout the day, including state police and the bomb squad’s RV-type vehicle. Officials with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives were also on scene.

She watched authorities place equipment near a shed and connect a yellow wire to a police vehicle, and then heard separate explosions roughly around 1 and 1:30 p.m., Briggs said.

Briggs said a neighbor came by and told her that police had advised the neighbor that there was no need for concern.

“They said, ‘Should we be worried?,’ and the police officer said no,” Briggs said.

The home at 238 Gifford Road is owned by Lillian Fellows-Abbott, according to Hartford’s online assessing records.

Briggs said Fellows-Abbott has been a “good friend and a good neighbor,” and is a “very nice lady.”

Briggs said Fellows-Abbott’s son, Kyle, has lived with Fellows-Abbott at the property for the past few years.

During Tropical Storm Irene, Fellows and his girlfriend at the time lost the West Hartford home they were living in, also owned by Fellows-Abbott, according to Valley News reports from the time.

By November 2011, he and his girlfriend had moved in with his mother on Gifford Road with hopes of moving back out.

Police continued to work at the house on Friday afternoon. A man who briefly exited the house and identified himself as Gary Fellows said police were there because of his brother, Kyle Fellows.

The school complex located about a quarter-mile away was not affected. Superintendent Tom DeBalsi said in an email that the administration was “in regular contact with (Hartford police) throughout the situation.”

“(Police ) assessment of the situation and our discussions with the authorities made it clear there was no need for an evacuation,” DeBalsi said.

Valley News staff writer Matt Hongoltz-Hetling and photographer Jennifer Hauck contributed to this report.

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