A deputy stands guard Thursday near a gutted secondary structure at 1954 Via Scott in Escondido. A house on the property has been called a "bomb factory" by authorities, who plan to burn it next week to neutralize the explosive materials inside. (Photo by John Koster - For the North County Times)
A change in weather conditions has prompted officials to change the date the "bomb house" in Escondido will be burned.
Signs were put up on Interstate 15 alerting drivers that the freeway was going to be closed on Wednesday morning, and a sheriff's department official said early on Tuesday that the burn was scheduled for Wednesday. However, at about 9:30 a.m. sheriff's spokeswoman Jan Caldwell said the forecast of an inversion layer on Wednesday had prompted officials to change the date of the burn to Thursday. An exact time for the burn is not yet known.
An inversion layer would cause any chemical pollution from the burn to remain trapped in the lower levels of the atmosphere and make it harder for the air to clear.
Explosives were found in the house at 1954 Via Scott in unincorporated Escondido several weeks ago after a gardener was injured in the back yard in an explosion. An indictment was filed Thursday in federal court against George Djura Jakubec, 54. He pleaded not guilty on Monday to charges that he knowingly made and possessed destructive devices, including nine detonators and 13 grenade hulls with unknown quantities of high explosives, including Hexamethylene Tiperoxide Diamine (HMTD), Pentaerythitol Tetranitrate and Erythritol Tetranitrate.
Last week, authorities announced that they would burn the structure to the ground in an effort to "cook off" the explosives safely, rather than having them detonate.
On Monday night, the sheriff's department issued a pair of news releases about the upcoming burn, that included the following statement:
"The San Diego County Sheriff's Department wants to ensure residents are prepared for the upcoming burn operation at 1954 Via Scott, in Escondido. On the designated burn day, at about 9:00 A.M., emergency responders are going to intentionally initiate a fire in order to dispose of both the hazardous materials contained inside the residence, as well as the residence itself.”
Local residents were urged to prepare for the evacuation by removing any required medications, important documents and cash, as well as “additional items you feel are necessary for preservation or sentimental value,” and to make arrangements for their pets.