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Dynamite Caches Keep Bomb Squad Busy

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By Craig Koscho

Calaveras County´s bomb squad had a busy Friday last week, disposing of two stashes of dynamite discovered by homeowners.

The first was found about 9:30 a.m. at a house off Hogan Dam Road behind New Hogan Reservoir.

A woman, whose name was not immediately available, was cleaning up the house of her late father when she found 1,000 blasting caps in a stand-up refrigerator and 80 sticks of dynamite on a workbench, Undersheriff Mike Walker said.

Bomb squad members determined the dynamite was about 10 years old since the company that made it is no longer in business.

However, it was in “pristine condition” and was not hazardous to move, Walker said.

The blasting caps were detonated at a nearby quarry and the dynamite is being stored to be destroyed later.

Two homes in the immediate area were evacuated during the incident.

That wasn´t the end of the bomb squad´s day, though.

Around 4 p.m. six sticks of dynamite “in very very poor shape” were discovered by the wife of former sheriff Russell Leach as she was cleaning up the family´s garage on Vista Verde in San Andreas, Walker said.

“They were actually leaking nitroglycerin,” Walker added.

A neighbor with a backhoe was contacted and a large hole was dug on Leach´s property.

The dynamite was placed in the hole and soaked in acetone which stabilized it so it could be safely burned.

Walker was not aware of any evacuations in that incident.

Contact Craig Koscho at

Reprinted with kind permission from The Calavereas Enterprise