Sheriff Bill Elfo told The Bellingham Herald he used an electrical current to separate hydrogen from water and captured the gas in a 5-gallon propane tank.
The tank over-pressurized and exploded early Wednesday in a blast that shook the community of Kendall near Mount Baker and sent 44-year-old Andry Lukyanchin to a Seattle hospital with serious burns.
Family members told investigators he was conducting his own science experiments based on Internet videos.
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