The Lorain County Bomb Squad arrived at the scene shortly before 9:30 a.m.
LORAIN -- A potentially explosive situation is being attended to by the Lorain County Bomb Squad.
At 7:15 a.m., officers were called to the 1700 block of West 22nd Street near the intersection of Pole Avenue, where a box of dynamite had been discovered.
"We sent our units who confirmed it was there," said Lorain Police Captain Tom Mize. "They also confirmed that it appeared to be very old."
The dynamite was located between West 22nd and 23rd Streets behind 1708 W. 23rd St,, Mize said. As soon the dynamite was confirmed, the Lorain Police called in the Lorain County Bomb Squad.
"We also established a perimeter of 500 feet," Mize said.
The reason for the worry is due to the age of the dynamite, Mize said. The fact that it is older means that it is more apt to explode.
"The nitroglycerin may seep out," Mize said. "Any sort of jostling or shaking or even static electricity can set it off."
The dynamite may have been on the land for as long as 50 years, said the owner of the property Doug Majka.
"There was a pool that was there in the 1960s," Majka said. "The dynamite was under the metal tank that was used as a pool filter."
Majka said that the pool has been filled in and grass growing over it for quite some time.
"I actually came across the dynamite last night," Majka said. "The tank was moved and it was sitting under a bag that was labeled 'Peat Moss.'"
Majka moved the bag and found the dynamite.
"There was a case that said 'Warning: Dynamite' right on it," Majka said. "I opened it up and picked up a few sticks. It was pretty wet and soggy and smushed."
One of the men who was taking the tank to scrap for money even tried to light a stick, Majka said.
Majka said he had posted his finding on Facebook last night, but called the police this morning at the urging of his mother.
"She was probably right," Majka said. "I called the police and they told me it was going to get busy over there. They were right."
While it is illegal to have dynamite without a permit, the chances of charges coming forward are virtually nonexistent, Mize said.
"It wasn't known that the dynamite was there," Mize said. "It has probably been there since the days when dynamite was used for landscaping and whatnot."
By the time that the Bomb Squad first responder arrived to assess the scene, the Lorain Police and Fire departments had established a perimeter and evacuated the houses within a two- to three-block radius.
"We evacuated everything but the Charleston Center," Mize said. "We told them to stay at the back of the building and away from any windows. It's a hot day."
Mize said that it is not uncommon to find dynamite in the city, but that it usually is only a stick or two, not a full case.
"Dynamite had been used to get rid of tree stumps and things like that before the city fully developed," Mize said. "It's not uncommon that there are random sticks found. A case or two, though, is rare. In my 28 years, I don't think I've ever seen that much dynamite."
The Bomb Squad arrived to the scene at about 9:25 a.m., and determined that they would dispose of the dynamite by doing a controlled burn on site, Mize said.
"The dynamite was deemed too dangerous to move by the Bomb Squad," Mize said. "They sent in a robot who would move the dynamite into a steel bomb disposal container."
Once in the container, the dynamite would be soaked in diesel fuel for the burn, Mize said.
Things became a little more serious, though, when a second case of dynamite was discovered.
"I'm not sure where at, but it sounds likes it was in close proximity to the first," Mize said.
"Combined, there are probably 50 sticks of dynamite," Mize said. "They didn't really want to pick through the cases, though."
The Bomb Squad continued to work at setting up a site for the controlled burn for about an hour before the robot was sent into the danger zone at about 10:15 a.m. It then was able to gather more data about the situation.
"It looked like the dynamite was very unstable," Mize said. "The sticks were oozing chemicals and it appeared that the cases were very susceptible to explosion."
The original plan called for the robot to work at removing the dynamite and place it the steel disposal container, where it would then be put into a controlled burn where it was found.
"The container ended up not being used," Mize said. "In the end, the Bomb Squad decided that there were too many dangers in using the container."
Mize said that the possibility of the dynamite exploding while being loaded into the container was a risk.
"If that would have happened, there would have been house shrapnel everywhere," Mize said. "Why take that risk."
The Bomb Squad decided that the best route was to have the robot place the dynamite in the street and have the controlled burn occur there.
"If it blows up in the street, you basically have a loud firecracker that is primarily going to hurt the street," Mize said. "It eliminates the chance of people being hurt by flying objects greatly."
A member of the bomb squad doused the dynamite in diesel before the robot entered the scene and moved the dynamite to the street, according to Mize. After the dynamite was in the street, the robot was sent in with a flare to start the fire at about 11:30 a.m.
"There are still a few sticks that were dropped on the way to the street," Mize said. "But that will be quick to take care of compared to 50, which is a conservative count."
The fire could take several hours, Mize said. He added that the Bomb Squad said that there is a chance of the dynamite exploding, but that the chances of that are slim.
"The dynamite could explode," Mize said. "But the precautions taken by the Bomb Squad lowers that chance to a slim possibility."
The robot was sent back out to the fire at 1:07 p.m. to jostle the dynamite and check on the status of the burning.
"There was still a lot of dynamite that hasn't burned," said Mize after the robot returned. "But let's be honest, that robot has earned its pay today."
The robot was sent out again shortly before 2 p.m. to jostle the dynamite again. It was determined that the dynamite was burning better, but that it would still be a few hours until the fire had burned itself out.
According to Mize, the controlled burn should be completed by 5 p.m., barring any setback
Check back at morningjournal.com for more updates on the situation and the status of the burn throughout the day.