The "Bomb House" Has a Silver Lining

Twin brothers' business finally thriving

By Paul Krueger
|  Wednesday, Nov 23, 2011  |  Updated 8:54 AM PDT
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One year later, there is actually a silver lining for at least three neighbors of the so-called bomb house.

One year later, there is actually a silver lining for at least three neighbors of the so-called bomb house.

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Burning Down the House

After weeks of planning, authorities set fire to the bomb house.

Residents Return Home After Bomb House Burn

On Thursday night, the last of the evacuated Escondido residents were allowed to return home to the area of the so-called bomb factory, burned to the ground last week after highly-explosive materials were found inside.
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One year after sheriff's deputies discovered a house filled with explosives in Escondido, the admitted bomb-maker continues his decades-long sentence in federal prison. But neighbors are rebuilding their lives.

Twin brothers Brian and Alan Haghighi had just started a new business, making and selling fruit-based wine when the so-called "bomb house" was discovered.

The Haghighi's home-office was right next door to George Jakubec's property.

Jakubec later pleaded guilty to building and possessing deadly explosives, and the cache of explosives was described as the largest of its kind ever found in a private, residential home, in the U.S.

Sheriff's deputies uncovered the powerful bombs after a gardener mistakenly stepped on a tiny amount of explosive, sustaining serious injuries.

Neighbors were forced to temporarily leave their homes, and relocate.

It was a big setback for the Haghighi brothers.

"We were amping up for the holidays," Alan Haghighi recalls. "Christmas was right around the corner, we were doing gift baskets... It interrupted everything we had planned."

In fact, they were ordered out of their home by sheriff's deputies just as they were preparing to ship their first order of fruit wine.

The brothers then had trouble getting payment from their insurance company from the disruption, and had to essentially re-start their company from scratch.

They stopped looking for a conventional business loan, and instead got financing from family, friends, and their savings.

They bargain-shopped on the web for equipment.

"A lot of things that seem like disastrous, or negative, end up becoming positive," Brian Haghighi now says.

Last month, their hard work and frugality finally paid off.

They opened a bottling and retail store, with tables and a bar for wine tasting, in a 4500 square-foot space in Vista.

The brothers have sold 300 cases of blackberry, peach, plum, pumpkin spice and other fruit wines, ranging in price from seven to $15 a bottle.

And on Tuesday, another of Jakubec's neighbors stopped by the California Fruit Wine store to buy gifts for friends.

Jill Knipp was also displaced from her home for a month, and says she was constantly hounded by news reporters looking for a story.

But today, she says the nightmare seems distant, and she's happy she had the time to refinish her floors and do other home repairs while she was displaced.

"I tried to stay positive," says Knipp, who owns a personal training gym. "Because nobody likes to listen to people who whine. So I tried to stay positive."

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