Diffusing explosives situation in Shasta County could take â??several weeksâ?쳌

Feb 11, 2014 1:03 PM

At the request of Shasta County Sheriff Tom Bosenko, the Shasta County Board of Supervisors unanimously approved a local state of emergency for the area lying within the 1,000-foot evacuation zone of a property containing over 40 pounds of explosive materials on Chaparral Drive west of Redding.

Sheriff Bosenko told the Board of Supervisors in their meeting this morning there is no current timeline for residents of 28 homes to return, and indicated concluding the situation could take “several weeks.” Bosenko also stated authorities could also extend the evacuation zone an additional 2,000 feet.

Evacuees were moved from Manzanita Elementary School to the Army National Guard Facility on South Street around 4 p.m. yesterday.

The emergency declaration approved today would enable Shasta County to request state and federal disaster assistance, allows the Director of Emergency Services, Sheriff Bosenko, to take preventative measures to protect public health and safety, and allows collaborating agencies to cut through “red tape” posed by any local ordinances to effectively dispose of the explosive materials.

The Board of Supervisors indicated today the situation will impact the county’s General Fund because of the amount of county resources being utilized. The current agencies involved, a list which could expand, include Shasta County Public Works, Shasta County Fire, Cal Fire, Shasta County Information Technology, the Department of Agriculture along with several others.

The incident began last Thursday around 4 p.m. when emergency personnel responded to reports of an explosion at 9021 Chaparral Drive. Responding personnel found 63-year-old D Ray East had blown his hand off after attempting to make rocket fuel, according to the Sheriff’s Office. East remains in fair condition in an area hospital at this time.

After East was taken to the hospital, officials with the county Bomb Squad searched the property and eventually found over 40 pounds of highly sensitive explosive material and precursor materials. Bosenko told the Board of Supervisors today the condition of the residence made it impossible to utilize a robot and technicians also could not enter because of the conditions.

The discovery of the materials prompted the Sheriff’s Office to order the evacuations late last week.

Bosenko did not state when, or if, East will face criminal charges at the meeting this morning.

The Sheriff’s Office has also reached out to officials in San Diego County who faced a similar situation last year.

East has no known ties to terrorist or extremist groups.


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