Bomb House May Take Days to Clean - NBC 7 San Diego

Bomb House May Take Days to Clean



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     The planned fire is over, but the aftermath of burning the so-called "bomb factory" still involves a lot of work and plenty of danger.

     The sheriffs department said that for crews working to clean up this mess, each day will be just as dangerous as the day before, because they say you  never know what sorts of things will survive a fire.

     "It's an odd thing the firefighters told us that they can have a structure fire burn completely to the ground, they'll be a cabinet left intact and  the materials inside are fine, untouched," Said FBI spokesperson Jan Caldwell. "It's a very odd, odd phenomenon, but it does happen."

     A Sheriff's bomb arson team along with FBI bomb techs carefully combed through the debris left from yesterday's fire. A special armored bobcat was  even brought in from San Bernadino.

     The machine, called a tech cat, scraped through the property today looking for any unburned explosives. The tech cat is a one-person vehicle with its  own ventilation system

     "That goes through with kind of a claw and a scoop and we’re just looking to see if there’s a jar or two or anything that survived,” Caldwell said.

     Later, firefighters used a bulldozer to scrape and spray the rest of the property.

     Once the property is declared of clear of explosives, county hazmat crews will do a final cleanup to get the property back up to safety standards. The fireproof wall will be taken down, and a fence that was taken down will be rebuilt.

     All of this must be done before the people who live on either side of the property are allowed to move back in.

     As for the rest of the neighborhood, everyone else has been allowed back inside.

     Tony Hawkins is one of those neighbors. He lives with his wife and six children on a property that backs up to the Jakubec home. He recalls hearing   explosions and other sounds coming from the house.

     “During the summer, about three or four times, large explosions, like maybe M-80s or something like that," Hawkins said. "And I know all the neighbors are kicking themselves for not saying anything sooner. So, with that and knowing all the stuff that went on in that house, it’s a real   miracle nothing very serious happened.”

     This all began when a gardener stepped on residue from a volatile substance and set off an explosion last month. That accident led to the discovery  of the home that prosecutors say contained the largest amount of certain homemade explosives ever found in a single U.S. location.

     Authorities said the cluttered home was filled with so much dangerous material that they had to burn it to the ground to protect the neighborhood.

     While searching the house, bomb technicians found six mason jars with highly unstable Hexamethylene Triperoxide Diamine, or HMTD, which is highly  volatile.

     Experts say it is the largest stash of HMDT ever found in the world.