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Bomb squad disposes of dynamite
By CHRIS COLLINS
Of the Baker City Herald
Alex Sackos was cleaning up around his Baker Street property in preparation for demolition of several buildings by the Baker City Fire Department when he discovered more than a dozen sticks of dynamite in one of the sheds.
Sackos did what others in the community should do in a similar situation, according to Fire Chief Tim Frost. He immediately called the fire department, which then called Oregon State Police explosive experts in Pendleton.
The two-man team of Elden Alexander and Mike Davis traveled to Baker City to dispose of the unstable material Tuesday morning. And although Tuesday's disposal was uneventful, the potential for disaster is always there, the two men said.
The 12 to 16 sticks of dynamite were found on a shelf in a shed in the 1600 block of Baker Street, Frost said. The OSP officers estimated the explosives dated back to the early 1900s. It is not uncommon to find dynamite that has been stored and forgotten for many years, they said.
The Pendleton men removed the shelf and carried it and the dynamite out of the building. They ignited the material shelf and all to dispose of it, Frost said. There was no explosion.
Frost cautioned other city residents who might come across long-stored dynamite that has deteriorated to follow Sackos' lead. They should leave it alone and immediately call the fire department.
The more deteriorated the dynamite, the more volatile it can be, Frost said. It can be detonated by any action such as a mild rap to the box or static created by dragging a box of the unstable material across a surface, he said.
The fire department plans to burn the two houses and four sheds on Sackos' property in February. The buildings are situated in a cul-de-sac on Baker Street just off Grove Street.
The "Burn to Learn" exercise will provide training for Baker City firefighters as well as volunteer members of other county fire departments.
At the same time, Sackos will have very little cleanup to do after the training exercise, Frost said.
"It's good for him and it's good for us," the chief said. "There's nothing like live-fire training."