ATF demonstrates dangers of improperly stored explosives 1 day after dynamite found in Tooele Co. shed

Posted at 6:07 PM, Jun 11, 2015
and last updated 2015-06-12 09:09:57-04

TOOELE COUNTY, Utah -- Fire crews in Tooele had to call in the bomb squad Wednesday after several sticks of old dynamite were found in an old shed, and Thursday the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives held a demonstration to show the public how dangerous improper storage and disposal can be.

Bombs were detonated and explosives were on display at the demonstration--everything from hand grenades to M80s to fireworks.

There were 71,000 metric tons of explosives sold legally in Utah alone for engineering and agricultural purposes in 2013.

“That’s a lot of explosives, so one could easily infer that there could be some lost or stolen from that,” said special Agent Mike Minichino of the ATF.

According to local law enforcement, there have been several incidents in which citizens will show up to police departments to turn in explosives, which the ATF says can be deadly.

“There unfortunately was a farmer disposing of dynamite and he accidentally killed himself, and with that incidence it was the dynamite with the nitro glycerin so it prematurely detonated,” Minichino said.

Explosives are found all over Utah all the time. Wednesday, an entire Erda neighborhood was evacuated when 80 old sticks of dynamite and 80 blasting caps were found in an old shed. A family who was cleaning out a home to sell it after the owner passed away located the explosives.

“Dynamite, when it gets aged and as it becomes more unstable, its sensitive to friction or shock--so if somebody had dropped that or if they had kicked that box not knowing what it was it could actually detonate,” said Capt. Steve Ball of the Unified Fire Department’s fire and arson bomb squad. “It could have seriously injured or killed somebody."

The bomb squad did a slow burn to dispose of the old explosives.

ATF Personnel ask the public not handle, cover, move or transport unwanted explosives. The Utah Bomb Squad Task Force will travel statewide to safely dispose of explosives free of charge. Utahns can use the following hotline: 1-888-ATF-BOMB.