PALMETTO, Fla. — Cindy and Willy Welch woke from a deep sleep around 12:30 Sunday morning to the sound of what they say was window-shaking, heart-stopping explosions.

  • Couple wakes up to unknown 'window-shaking' explosions
  • Explosions turned out to be a bomb squad detonating a PVC pipe
  • They wish authorities would have warned nearby residents
  • RELATED: More Manatee County coverage

“We woke up to a huge boom, it sounded like bombs going off,” Cindy recalled.

“We were thinking somebody’s house has blown up, and something terrible has happened,” Willy added.

The couple left their home in the Piney Point area of Palmetto to see if anyone needed help. Both working nurses, they were afraid that someone’s home was on fire or a gas line had exploded.

They followed the commotion to a farm off Buckeye Road. There, they spotted the bomb squad along with dozens of officers, working far out in the field.

According to the Manatee County Sheriff’s Office, officials were detonating a PVC pipe that was packed with explosives. The pipe was handed over to the Sheriff’s Office by a Terra Ceia resident, who located it in mangroves by their home.

The resident had tried to cut the pipe with a chainsaw and discovered a brown powder inside.

The bomb squad brought the explosive to the farmland by Port Manatee and safely detonated it just after midnight.

The pipe, and its contents, may have been used years ago when forming the channels around Terra Ceia Bay, officials said.

The Welch family wanted answers and wishes officials would have warned them.

“I think they could have handled it better, or they certainly could have let us know,” Cindy said. “They could have at least told me it was a controlled explosion.”

No one was injured in the incident.