Several local tv outlets will be live streaming (did stream) the controlled burn at 9am pacific time (noon eastern) 11am pacific (2pm eastern). I’ll be teaching class at that time, so someone let me know if it’s uneventful or, er, eventful.
On November 19, a gardener for Escondido, CA, resident George Djura Jakubec was walking in the backyard when he stepped on something causing it to detonate. The explosion caused burns and abrasions up one leg, under one arm, and on his head and eyebrows, and he was hospitalized.
Officers started searching the yard and home… then quickly retreated when they found numerous explosive compounds and explosive-making materials in and around the house. According to various reports, items found on the property include:
- 9-12 pounds (4-6 Kg) of homemade HMTD, PETN, and ETN (which authorities claim may be the largest discovery of its type on US soil…)
- 13 grenades
- 9 detonators
- bags of metal pieces and ball bearings
- semiautomatic weapons
- several gallons of nitric acid, sulfuric acid, hydrochloric acid
- 50 pounds (23 Kg) of hexamine
- books about explosives
- a tracker hidden in currency during bank robberies
And then they decided to call off the search because the house was too unsafe for offices. Who knows what else may be in un-searched corners of the house.
Not surprisingly, Jakubec, a naturalized US citizen originally from Serbia, is in jail on $5 million bail and is charged with more than 25 felonies relating to explosives and bank robbery. He pleaded not guilty.
Officials say there is no safe way to remove all the explosives from the house, so the best way to neutralize the danger is to burn the house to the ground. They plan to evacuate 200 homes, build temporary fire-safe walls between the house and its neighbors, spray the wall and neighboring houses with fire-retardant foam, pre-heat the house so it ignites quickly, then start a fire. They plan to wait until a time after morning rush hour when the winds are calm before starting the fire. They will need to close part of nearby interstate 15 because of the house’s proximity to the highway. Gov. Schwarzenegger has declared a state of emergency for San Diego County.
Update (12/4): The North County Times is releasing images taken from inside the house. Very disturbing. Very disturbing indeed. It’s like that one episode of CSI where almost the exact same thing happened. They’re clearing the house, when the one CSI opens a fridge in the garage. Then he slowly says to the other CSIs in that low, dramatic tone of voice. ‘stop what you’re doing and slowly walk out of the house.’ They ended up doing the same thing to that house, only they detonated the explosives and esploded the house instead of lighting it on fire. Click the image for all 12 pictures.
- 11/21 story on initial searches of house
- 11/23 story on suspect and house searches
- 11/24 story on family history of suspect
- 11/30 story on decision to burn down house
- 11/30 story on execution of search warrant and list of items found in house
- The search warrant
- 12/2 story on preparations to community for burning down the house
- 12/2 story on safety preparations being taken before burning down the house