Escondido Bomb update

I know I’m a lot like Chicken Little “The sky is falling! The sky is falling!” where this Escondido Bomber is concerned. But having this all so close to home freaks me OUT!!  Escondido is a small town (it’s the town I work in) and for it to have the largest amount of bomb making materials in one spot in US history FREAKS ME OUT!!  But I found this “Frequently asked questions” pdf that made me feel a little bit better. I’ll feel so much better when this burn is over and done with and everyone is safe and sound.  Course… if all the chemicals that get released into the air give me a hump, lisp and a beard ya’all know I’ll bitch and moan A LOT!!  You think I can rant now??  Give me a beard and all hells gonna break loose!

I’ve cut and pasted the questions PDF and linked a couple of updated news stories as well.

Frequently Asked Questions:

The burn is tentatively set for December 8, 9 or 10. The date could change depending on weather conditions. Bomb/Arson technicians and firefighters are looking for clear skies, mild winds (5 mph) coming off the west so the smoke goes straight up and dissipates east to Interstate 15.

How will you notify me about evacuations?

You will get a 24

hour notice prior to the evacuation notice being issued. Sheriff’s deputies and Escondido police officers will knock on doors and the Sheriff’s Department will send out a Reverse 911 © call to affected residents. You can also get information through this website. Escondido Police will post updated information of its evacuation plan closer to the burn date. The evacuation is planned to begin the day before the burn day to allow residents plenty of time to evacuate to the evacuation center or alternate locations.

How long will I be evacuated?

Please plan to be evacuated for an entire day.

How many homes will be evacuated?

We don’t have the exact number yet, but there is a preliminary map on this website. Those on the red zone need to evacuate, while those on the yellow zone can shelter in place. Shelter in place means you should close your doors and windows, bring your pets indoors, and shut off any ventilation to keep the smoke out of your house.

Is there an evacuation site?

A designated evacuation site is being arranged. We will update the information when it becomes available.

What if I am disabled, elderly or have a medical condition, will I get help during the evacuation?

Sheriff’s deputies, Escondido police officers are available to help. Ambulances are also on standby in case of a medical emergency.

If I shelter in place and have a medical emergency can I still get help?

Yes, ambulances are on standby and hospitals are on alert. First responders can still get to you despite road closures during the burn.

Is there a place where I can bring my pet for shelter?

There shouldn’t be utility interruptions in evacuated areas. The only utility issues are with the four affected homes.

Is this the only option?

Yes. There is so much clutter in the house, the Sheriff’s Bomb/Arson Unit robot can’t go in. There’s also residue on the floor so Bomb/Arson technicians with heavy gear can’t safely operate. It is the consensus of all the Bomb Technicians on scene, experts from the FBI Laboratory, Explosives Unit and Hazmat technicians on scene to render the hazardous materials by burning it in place.

Is it safe to destroy the explosives materials this way?

The experts we consulted studied how the chemicals will behave during the burn. They found the materials will burn and decompose within a half hour. Burning in place is an approved way of rendering explosives materials safe to avoid disturbing them.

What about ammunition inside the house?

Bullets will burn when exposed to heat. They quickly lose energy as it is not contained and directed to go in a specific direction as it would when fired out of a barrel. It is unlikely that it would strike any potential hazards due to its location.

Is there any chance of a bigger explosion?

From our consultation with the experts, we do not expect a bigger explosion. If there is an explosion during the burn it will be contained within the house. If all blows up at the same time, projection models show an impact area of 60 to 70 feet.

What if there is a dirty bomb in the house?

A dirty bomb is an explosive device that contains radioactive material. Extensive testing of the residence was performed using state of the art detectors and NO radioactive material was found. Therefore, there is NO chance of a dirty bomb being present.

How will you keep the fire from spreading to other homes?

Firefighters are optimistic the fire will not spread to other homes, but they have hose lines on the ground as a precaution. Two Sheriff’s helicopters will also be in the air. There will brush clearing and tree trimming before the burn. Firefighters will also build a wall to protect next door homes from the heat. Other homes will be sprayed with protective gel.

If my house catches on fire during the burn, will you put it out?


What will happen to the site and damaged structure after the controlled burn?

County first responders and the fire department personnel will carefully survey the debris left after the burn to determine if any suspected chemicals or explosive materials survived the burn. If found, the appropriate agency will deal with the hazards and it will be retrieved from the damaged structure and safely disposed of.

How will the damaged structure and ash be cleaned up?

The State Department of Toxic Substances Control (DTSC) will bring in their contractor who will perform the cleanup and debris removal following a written health and safety plan to protect health and safety and the environment.

When will the contactor start the cleanup work?

The County’s goal is to have DTSC’s contractor begin the removal process the day following the burn this will allow time for the debris to cool down and the County’s Hazmat team time to remove recognizable hazardous waste.

Will the site be secured to prevent unauthorized access?

Yes, the site will be secured and fenced to prevent unauthorized access.

Will the County be monitoring the cleanup work by the contractor?

The County Department of Environmental Health and DTSC will monitor the cleanup and debris removal to ensure it is properly completed and the waste properly disposed of. County hazardous materials staff will be available 24 hours a day to respond to assess any suspected hazardous materials uncovered during the site demolition work by the contractor.

Will ash and debris be removed from the site?

Yes, ash and structural debris will be removed from the site by DTSC’s contractor and taken to a permitted waste disposal facility.

How will ash, dust, and erosion be controlled?

DTSC’s contractor will install erosion control measures and dust suppression to prevent storm water runoff and dust problems from occurring.

What if ash or debris fell into my home?

Guidance for the best methods of removing ash and debris are being developed and will be posted on this website when completed. There is a guidance document available on the website from the Public and Environmental Health Departments.

What about air quality?

County HAZMAT is installing chemical detectors within a halfmile radius. The burn and evacuated area is approximately a halfmile in diameter. Hazmat and the command staff will be monitoring these sensors in real time to ensure there are no toxins in the air. The air quality readings from the detectors will be made available.

County Animal Services will provide a shelter for pets of evacuated residents.

If I shelter in place and have medical equipment at home, will I still have electricity?


When will it happen?

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