Germantown man sentenced to jail after blowing off part of his hand

 The home where an explosion cost Douglas Ferrin several fingers sits next to a Sunoco gas station in Germantown. (Brian Hickey/WHYY)

The home where an explosion cost Douglas Ferrin several fingers sits next to a Sunoco gas station in Germantown. (Brian Hickey/WHYY)

A Germantown man who lost three of his fingers last summer after an item exploded in his hand will now spend one-and-a-half to three years in jail.


Douglas Ferrin, 55, was sentenced Friday morning after a jury found him guilty of possessing weapons of mass destruction and instruments of crime.

Ferrin has already served 11 months in jail, which will be credited to his sentence. After his release he will remain on probation for five years. 

“He is a danger to his neighbors,” said Assistant District Attorney Louis Tumolo. “He is a danger to himself.”

At around 4 a.m. on May 7, police were called to the 100 block of West Queen Lane. There they fond Ferrin sitting on his front steps, covered in blood.

At his preliminary hearing, an officer testified that Ferrin told police a sparkler had done the damage.

They didn’t buy it.

“I knew it had to be more than a sparkler,” said Officer Daniel Sweeney at the time.

As Ferrin was transported to the hospital, investigators with the Philadelphia Police Department and the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives’ local field office combed the artist’s three-story home and the premises for bomb-making materials.

Inside, where a trail of blood extended from the front door to the back of the house, they found three improvised explosive devices, a series of “assorted powders,” scales and tubing, according to testimony.

One of the powers was believed to be what’s known as flash powder, a highly combustible, highly volatile substance used to initiate explosions.

Out back, investigators found device debris — burnt pieces of plastic believed to be tied to the explosion that sent Ferrin to the emergency room. More blood and flesh too — some of it in the next-door neighbor’s backyard.

Afterwards Friday’s hearing, , Ferrin’s lawyer, A.J. Thompson, said the only person Ferrin hurt was himself. 

“He has a reminder of what can happen,” he said.

This is the second time Ferrin has paid for playing with explosives.

Ferrin faced similar charges in connection with a 2011 bathroom explosion at Molly Maguire’s Irish Restaurant in Phoenixville.

Chester County court records show that he pleaded guilty to a “Reckless Burning or Exploding — places property having value that exceeds $5,000 or automobile, place” charge in connection with the case.

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