I’m keeping tabs on the effort today in San Diego county to burn down the explosives-filled house. Current reports are that it should be set off shortly, around 10:30 a.m. PST. A few tidbits I’ve picked up from the news the past few days:
- The gardener that got hurt apparently did nothing more than scuff his foot on some gravel, setting off some explosive residue.
- Photos show that the house was an absolute mess. I’m guessing that it was a miracle that George Jakubec didn’t blow it up sooner. An FBI bomb expert testified in court yesterday about “evidence of past explosions in the house, including a sliding glass door and windows that had been blown out and boarded up and buckled, soot-covered walls.”
- That court hearing was held because Jakubec’s defense attorney wanted the burning to be postponed in case there’s any exculpatory evidence inside. The U.S. attorney’s reponse: “some papers that Berg indicated he thought were important are located on a coffee table and rest atop detonators containing HMTD. He said it would be too dangerous to remove the papers or anything else.” The judge denied the delay request, reportedly saying that “In good conscience, I cannot allow anyone to go back in.”
- 66 homes and 78 apartment units were to be evacuated; more have a shelter in place order (map here).
- An arson expert estimates (video) that the fire has about an 85% chance of burning with no explosions. Neal Langerman, founder of consulting company Advanced Chemical Safety and past chair and current treasurer of the ACS Division of Chemical Health & Safety, says that he expects it to be a “non-event.”
Update: The house (and some surrounding vegetation) is now reduced to ashes and it seems like everything went as planned–there was some popping from ammunition or aerosol cans and that was it. If you weren’t able to watch it live, NBC San Diego has their raw video feed archived here. (I don’t mean to keep promoting NBC–their live feed actually crashed, so I wound up watching most of the burn on CBS! If someone else has video archived, feel free to post the link in the comments.)