Explosives found in Susanville home
Susanville Police Captain Tom Downing said they found the explosives during the cleanup process when.
“It was in the backroom of the house high up on the shelf,” Downing said. “The wife had carried it out and the owner, who said he had some experience dealing with explosives, handled it from there.”
Downing said the explosives looked old because of the signs of decomposition and residue on the side of the package the explosive material was in.
Downing then said the owner and his wife took the explosives out of the house and left it on top of a nearby trash dumpster. He said the owner then took some pictures of the materials and walked over to the fire department to tell them about what they had found.
From, there, the police and fire departments responded quickly, Downing said. Fire engines and police vehicles blocked off streets around the house, effectively blocking off Riverside Drive, Sunkist Street and Alexander Avenue. Residents in nearby homes and apartments were asked to either stay in their homes or away from them depending on if they were there when the emergency services were at the scene.
“We evacuated the two adjoining houses, we evacuated the alley behind it (the house),” Downing said. “We closed down Alexander Avenue for about two and a half hours. As for the apartments on the other side of the road, we had those people take shelter in place.”
Officers then contacted the Washoe County Consolidated Bomb Squad, the closest available bomb unit, to come and handle the situation. Downing said the bomb squad immediately assessed the volatility of the material, and without using protective gear, were able to transport the material into a bomb safe container for transportation and disposal. Downing said the squad then used standard procedure in transporting the material out to the location to the old dump. A charge was placed on the material, and the explosives were detonated in a safe manner.
Downing confirmed the SPD was going to continue investigating the matter. Downing said he wasn’t sure if the explosives had belonged to the previous tenant of the house, as he and the owner of the property said the explosives looked like they had been neglected and at the property for a long time.
Downing said it’s been at least a year or two since the last time the WCBS had been called out into Lassen County. Downing said in his career he knew of at least one other incident involving the disposal of a hand grenade located in town. He said that was the only incident involving military grade explosives. There have been other incidents involving home-made explosives in his time at the department as well.
As for the Alexander Avenue incident, Downing said he was appreciative of the WCBS’s help.
“I tell you what, if it wasn’t for Washoe County coming over, I was told we would have had to wait for a unit out in the Sacramento area,” Downing said. “For them to come all the way out here is very appreciated.”
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