As the warning cry, "fire in the hole," rang out, the Tourt family held their ground on the edge of their property just 10 feet from the dynamite fearges whose detonantion they had sought to block by their presence.
The whoomp of the first blast raised a cloud of red dust that floated across William and Barbara Trout and their daughters Cindy, 16, and Susan, 12. When the dust had settle along the path of a new water main beside Rte. 7 in Loudoun County, it was clear that the Trouts were unharmed.
The second blast didn't even raise dust and the last blast could hardly be heard by the assembled television crews, reporters, sheriff's deputies, construction workers, lawyers and officials of the Loudoun County Water Authority.
The confrontation between the Trouts and the crew using dynamite charges to break up the earth and rock in the pipeline's patch had ended after delaying work for nearly two days.
Trout, a well driller whose one-story brick home on Broad Run Road is about 260 feet from the site of the blasting, said that dynamiting last week had caused cracks inside his house.
The family last week sat down on a separate lot they own next to the waterline route and close to the charges, halting the blasting.
Water authority officals denied that the blasting had caused any damage to the Trout home, citing low readings on seismographs set up to monitor the shocks.
Water officials went into state court last week and got an injuction barring the Trouts from the pipeline route and an easement along the front of the Tourt's other lot. But the injuction did not allow the deputies to move the Trouts from their own property.
So there Mrs. Trout and her daughters stayed while Trout negotiated with the water authority and its lawyer.
With no solution to the impasse, the blasting company, Air Power Inc., decided to go ahead, with the detonation. Trout joined his family along the edge of the lot.
As the crew made final preparations, the Trouts yelled," Money means everything to them . . . If they hurt us they're going to get the hell sued out fo them . . . Get your cameras ready, there's going to be some hurt people . . . Blow us up. You don't care."
Then came the anticlimactic blasts.
"I've been blasting for 25 years and never had anybody hurt," said John M. Farah, president of Air Power. "It's the first time I've ever had anything like this."