Old dynamite removed from building Bulk-food center contained 27 sticks CENTRAL -- Union Mills * Westminster * Sandymount * Finksburg

March 31, 1993|By Bill Talbott | Bill Talbott,Staff Writer

Two members of the state fire marshal's bomb squad removed 27 sticks of old dynamite from a building of the Southern States Agriculture Center in Westminster yesterday morning.

The dynamite, manufactured in the mid-1960s, was in stable condition when found Monday in an ammunition container on the second floor of the bulk-food building on Railroad Avenue by a company employee.

Several blasting caps, or detonators, were found nearby. They were removed on Monday.

A deputy fire marshal from Howard County said the dynamite was taken to a field owned by Southern States about three miles north of the city, sprinkled with flammable liquid and burned. This is the safest way to dispose of the explosive when it is in stable condition, Deputy Fire Marshal Ted Meminger said.

The dynamite was considered stable because it wasn't exposed to extreme freezing or outside weather.

The deputy said such explosives were used years ago in plants producing fertilizer when the pipe leading from an upper floor to the bagging floor became clogged with the bulk product. He said a small piece of a stick of dynamite would be detonated to unclog the chute and allow the operation to resume.

Deputy Fire Marshal Richard LaBrocco of Frederick County worked with Deputy Fire Marshal Meminger in placing the dynamite in bags and taking it out of the building.

Deputy Chief Fire Marshal Bob Thomas said the bomb squad receives about 10 such calls a year, some from farmers who find sticks of dynamite, perhaps used years ago for work around the farm and forgotten, in barns or other outbuildings. Some of the dynamite has deteriorated and is unstable and dangerous.

Mr. Thomas warns anyone who finds dynamite not to handle the explosive, but to call officials so the explosive can be safely removed.

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