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Cannonball Hits Dublin Home During 'Mythbusters' Stunt

DUBLIN (CBS SF) – A cannonball damaged a home and vehicle in Dublin late Tuesday afternoon when a "MythBusters" stunt went awry, according to an Alameda County sheriff's sergeant.

A crew was filming the Discovery Channel TV show at the Alameda County bomb range around 4:15 p.m., sheriff's Sgt. J.D. Nelson said.

They were doing an experiment using a cannon they had built about two years ago and which they have used at least three times before, Nelson said.

In this particular experiment, the projectile was intended to go through several barrels of water and a cinder block wall before striking the hills of the bomb range, Nelson said.

However, the cannonball missed its target.

It missed the water, which was intended to slow the projectile's progress, went through the cinderblock wall and struck the hill.

"It did not bury itself in the hill as you might think it would have," Nelson said. Instead, it careened off the hill and into a neighborhood in Dublin.

The cannonball passed completely through a house on Cassata Place, creating a softball-sized hole.

KCBS' Chris Filippi Reports:

Nelson told the Contra Costa Times that no one was injured and the home's residents didn't even wake up until the dust was settled— literally on top of them.

After tearing through the home, the cannonball smashed through a window of a parked minivan a few hundred feet away.

Three people were at home at the time, including at least one child, he said.

Nelson said the TV crew responded by sending a senior producer to the home and to the home of the car owner. The producer arranged to meet with their insurance carriers, Nelson said.

"They (the 'MythBusters' crew) are insured for these kinds of things," he said.

Nelson is also a consultant for "Mythbusters." He said the television show has used the county's bomb range more than 50 times for experiments and filming.

"We never even had any kind of an incident let alone anything this terrible," Nelson said.

Pratima Dsouza, who lives next door to the house that was hit, said she heard a loud noise and later saw police responding to her neighbor's home but thought there had been some sort of accident inside the house.

It wasn't until she saw it on the news that she learned what had happened.

"Nobody came to our door and told us there was a cannonball that went through our neighbor's house," Dsouza said.

She said the bomb range where the cannonball came from is some distance from her neighborhood.

"We can hear the sounds but we've never had an experience like that before," she said.

She said a family lives in the home that was struck.

Another resident, Mark Hawthorne, said the cannonball bounced off of Cassata Place, leaving a dent in the concrete before crashing into his neighbor's house.

He said neighborhood kids—including his own—often play outside in the cul-de-sac around where the cannonball landed.

"It's a little scary," said Hawthorne, who has watched MythBusters on occasion. "It's easy to laugh at after it's done and no one's hurt."

(Copyright 2011 by CBS San Francisco. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.)

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