July 11, 2012
Vancouver police remove construction explosives from house being renovated
A work crew discovered explosive construction material hidden at the site of a home renovation in Vancouver, which had to be destroyed by the local police department on two separate occasions in one week.
“Basically what happened is a construction crew was ripping apart a wall in the basement of the house and found a metal tin which contained copper detonators,” said Vancouver Police Department (VPD) constable Lindsey Houghton.
“The tin was in the wall for almost 80 years. The crew also found a five ounce bottle of liquid, which was thought to be nitroglycerine.”
On July 10, construction workers found explosives inside a home being renovated on West 17th Avenue.
The house was cordoned off and the Vancouver Police Explosives Disposal Unit was called in to assess the material and remove it from the home.
Police took precautionary measure to ensure the safety of everyone in the immediate area.
The lane behind the house was blocked off.
The officers in the Explosives Disposal Unit removed the old blasting caps and liquid from the 100 year old home and safely destroyed them in the alley using a controlled detonation.
“So, our guys brought the explosives out into the alley, taking a long period of time,” said Houghton. “Then, they brought down sand and sand bags to build a bunker around the stuff. A counter-charge was used to blow up the explosives.”
A small bottle of nitroglycerin, which could have been highly unstable, and about 50 blasting caps were destroyed.
“The detonators are very dangerous, because they break down over time and are known to self detonate,”said Houghton.
“Every indication is that the explosives were used in construction.”
This was not the first time the VPD was called to this home renovation project to remove explosives.
On July 6, in a different part of the house, a metal tin with explosive in it fell out of the ceiling, while the contractor was doing the renovation.
The VPD responded in a similar fashion by removing the tin and blowing it up in the alley. Houghton said that after the VPD had to return to the home renovation the second time to destroy explosives, they took a bomb dog through the home to make sure nothing else was there.
A blasting cap is a small explosive device commonly used to detonate larger explosives like dynamite. The caps come in a variety of types and were commonly used in the construction industry for excavation and demolition work.
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