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Explosives found under porch of Fairbanks home

Posted: Thursday, August 21, 2003

FAIRBANKS (AP) A man clearing out a Fairbanks home he recently purchased found a bag of explosives under the porch, authorities said.

A bomb squad from Eielson Air Force Base detonated about 12 pounds of explosives early Wednesday morning.

Staff Sgt. Al Schneider of Eielson's explosive ordinance disposal team said there were six explosives in the bag, as well as two blasting caps, each with about a foot of time fuse.

The explosives, which date from 1993, were apparently possessions of the previous owner of the house, who died, Schneider said. He described the explosives as a fairly common type used for activities like mining and stump-clearing.

Upon finding the bag, the new owner called Alaska State Troopers, who headed to the scene and alerted the bomb squad at about 10:30 p.m. Tuesday.

Eielson responded with two men and a vehicle towing a ''total containment vessel,'' a 9,000-pound trailer carrying a steel bubble 3 feet in diameter capable of containing the detonation of up to 25 pounds of explosives. The experts determined it would be OK to transport the explosives and loaded the container.

''This stuff's pretty stable it's made to quarry and to stump blow and to mine with, so it's good stuff to handle,'' Schneider told the Fairbanks Daily News-Miner. ''We took a look at it, we identified it and we determined that it was not hazardous to move.''

The airmen got the OK from the Fairbanks North Star Borough to dispose of the explosives and were directed to the firing range on South Cushman Street.

Schneider said the size of the blast even startled the bomb squad.

''It sort of shocked us, I think,'' he said. ''It definitely scared the geese.''



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