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Stash of old dynamite in shed is frozen, can't be moved (Whoa!)
Janeville Gazette ^ | 2.20.04

Posted on 02/20/2004 6:58:28 PM PST by mhking

PRAIRIE DU CHIEN, Wis. -- A stash of decaying dynamite discovered in a storage shed is frozen and can't be safely moved until the spring thaw, authorities say.

Explosives experts said Wednesday that the 500 to 700 pounds of dynamite posed no immediate danger to nearby residents and businesses - unless someone tampers with it.

The information didn't pacify all the residents and business owners within 1,250 feet of the shed who learned more about the situation at a meeting with officials Wednesday.

"I'm scared and I'm angry," said Shirley Cipra, who lives about 500 feet from the shed. "We've been here all these years. I get sick to my stomach when I think how many times my whole family has been there in danger."

The state Transportation Department bought the shed as part of a highway widening project before state workers found the dynamite in October.

Crawford County Sheriff Bob Ostrander said the dynamite has been stored in the shed for more than 20 years and is thought to have belonged to the owner of a construction company that used it for quarry blasting.

The man died in the early 1980s and the company is no longer in business.

Local law enforcement officials did not learn about the explosives until last week. Joe Farmer, a DOT real estate supervisor, blamed the delay in informing them on an internal communication error in his agency.

If the dynamite were to be ignited, the blast would affect a radius of about 1,250 feet, said Robert Donnelly, an explosives expert from Virginia brought in by the state to oversee the dynamite's removal.

Many homes and about 35 businesses, including hotels and a grocery store, are in the area.

However, the dynamite cannot be safely removed until spring because it needs to thaw, said Donnelly, director of UXB International Inc. Crystals and ice that have formed on the old dynamite could ignite it at the slightest touch.

In the spring, the dynamite will be coated with a special fluid to diminish its volatility, and it will then be removed row by row. The process could take four to 10 days, Donnelly said.

People may have to be temporarily evacuated at that time, though improvements to a sand berm constructed on Tuesday could make that unnecessary, the sheriff said.

Other security measures also have been taken, including 24-hour police surveillance of the shed.

"We don't want someone coming in and tampering with it," Ostrander said. "We're not going to allow it."

The DOT has erected a chain-link fence to secure the building.

Police Chief Mike King said people shouldn't worry.

"It's not going to go off just sitting there in that building," King said. "It's as safe as it's been in 25 years" with the sand berm and extra security.


TOPICS: Culture/Society; Extended News; News/Current Events; US: Wisconsin
KEYWORDS: dampdynamite; fireinthehole; redfenders

1 posted on 02/20/2004 6:58:28 PM PST by mhking
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To: Howlin; Ed_NYC; MonroeDNA; widgysoft; Springman; Timesink; dubyaismypresident; Grani; coug97; ...
No relation.

Just damn.

If you want on the list, FReepmail me. This IS a high-volume PING list...

2 posted on 02/20/2004 6:59:00 PM PST by mhking (My gravely throat feels like it's been attacked with a rusty rasp....)
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To: mhking
They don't have to wait until spring to thaw it out - a quick application of a blowtorch would work just fine. Why those guys don't put a smart guy like me in charge of this stuff I just don't know...
3 posted on 02/20/2004 7:01:14 PM PST by Billthedrill
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To: Billthedrill
Yes burn it. I have burned cases of it, all it does is burn like sawdust.
4 posted on 02/20/2004 7:03:39 PM PST by Uncle George
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To: Billthedrill
I have one of those counter racks that thaws really good. If I had to wait til spring we wouldn't eat around here:')
5 posted on 02/20/2004 7:03:40 PM PST by CindyDawg
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To: mhking
Just use a space heater ;)
6 posted on 02/20/2004 7:05:31 PM PST by Bogey78O (Why are we even having this debate?)
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To: mhking
Good thing Wisconsin doesn't have earthquakes ;-)
7 posted on 02/20/2004 7:05:52 PM PST by commish (Freedom Tastes Sweetest to Those Who Have Fought to Preserve It)
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To: mhking
" on an internal communication error in his agency."

CRS.

8 posted on 02/20/2004 7:06:50 PM PST by spunkets
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To: mhking
Calling the RonCo guy!!
9 posted on 02/20/2004 7:07:04 PM PST by JZoback
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To: Uncle George
Old dynamite grows "hair," if its not used within a reasonable time. We dropped the stuff down the ANFO drill holes to get rid of it.
10 posted on 02/20/2004 7:08:32 PM PST by Eric in the Ozarks
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To: mhking
George Foreman was on Sean Hannity's radio yesterday while Sean was book signing in Dallas, ( I went to the Anatole in Dallas but it was swamped! One of his handlers says he signs 600 books per hour!).

Maybe a Forman Grill could be used to "cook" the mess!

11 posted on 02/20/2004 7:09:35 PM PST by Young Werther
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To: mhking
George Foreman was on Sean Hannity's radio yesterday while Sean was book signing in Dallas, ( I went to the Anatole in Dallas but it was swamped! One of his handlers says he signs 600 books per hour!).

Maybe a Forman Grill could be used to "cook" the mess!

12 posted on 02/20/2004 7:09:39 PM PST by Young Werther
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To: mhking
Have they named the shed after Howard Dean yet??
13 posted on 02/20/2004 7:09:46 PM PST by GeronL (http://www.ArmorforCongress.com......................Send a Freeper to Congress!)
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To: mhking
George Foreman was on Sean Hannity's radio yesterday while Sean was book signing in Dallas, ( I went to the Anatole in Dallas but it was swamped! One of his handlers says he signs 600 books per hour!).

Maybe a Forman Grill could be used to "cook" the mess!

14 posted on 02/20/2004 7:09:52 PM PST by Young Werther
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To: Uncle George
Eric's right. The old stuff sweats nitroglycerine. Very nasty.

If I were going to take a blowtorch to this stuff, I'd hold it all the way at arm's length... ;-)

15 posted on 02/20/2004 7:11:32 PM PST by Billthedrill
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To: Billthedrill
I would sure like to watch you do that from about two thousand feet away. I need to get a telephoto lens for my camera because I have an idea, I might get some neat pictures.
16 posted on 02/20/2004 7:17:23 PM PST by U S Army EOD (Volunteer for EOD and you will never have to worry about getting wounded.)
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To: Uncle George
C-4 burns hot enough to heat enough C-Rats to feed a platoon. Just don't stamp on it to put it out! Notice I said C-Rats, not MREs. LOL
17 posted on 02/20/2004 7:21:48 PM PST by ExSoldier (When the going gets tough, the tough go cyclic.)
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To: mhking
I remember reading a story in grammer school (awhile back)about a company hauling dynamite on a horse drawn wagon.
It was winter and the thinking at the time was that it was dangerous to let the dynamite get cold (freeze) so they had hot bricks under the tarp covered boxes of dynamite. The story went that the teamster got stuck in the snow and the dynamite did freeze. They found out that the dynamite was more difficult to ignite. That was new dynamite.

As dynamite ages, the nitroglycerin interspersed in the clay coagulates and weeps out, then becomes very dangerous. 25 years is old. I guess cold isn't good in old stuff.

Not an expert but that is what I remember.
18 posted on 02/20/2004 7:23:29 PM PST by Cold Heart (I have to drive my SUV a full year to feed 5 acres of rain forest)
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To: Billthedrill
Most of Wisconsin was old growth forest until the 1850's. They clearcut the lower 2/3 of the state of trees, and blasted the stumps by the millions. More dynamite was used to clear for farmland than all munitions in both world wars.

All the hardwoods, some as old as a few hundred years were floated to mills all along the great lakes.

In the context of dynamite in Wisconsin, this find ain't a nothin but a firecracker.

19 posted on 02/20/2004 7:28:10 PM PST by blackdog (Churchill si veveret, ad remum dareris!)
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To: Cold Heart
I know that glycerin mixed with bird crap and fruit loops makes some mighty powerful explosives. We did it in high school chemistry club.(when it was still PC to learn stuff)

The biggest explosion though was a dust explosion we created under a barrell, using graphite.

20 posted on 02/20/2004 7:33:57 PM PST by blackdog (Churchill si veveret, ad remum dareris!)
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To: mhking
Hmmm I have family near there in Praire du sac.

Funny froggy name eh?
21 posted on 02/20/2004 7:45:11 PM PST by mylife
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To: Billthedrill; coloradan
. The old stuff sweats nitroglycerine

Correct me if I am wrong, but I thought nitro become more stable when frozen? I thought back in the old days, they used to freeze it in order to transport it??

22 posted on 02/20/2004 7:47:20 PM PST by AdamSelene235
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To: Young Werther
A triple post.
23 posted on 02/20/2004 7:50:37 PM PST by PAR35
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To: spunkets
or CYA
24 posted on 02/20/2004 7:50:42 PM PST by kenth (This is not a tagline. You, sir, are hallucinating.)
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To: mhking
how about a giant hair dryer?
25 posted on 02/20/2004 7:57:31 PM PST by isom35
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To: blackdog

Most of Wisconsin was old growth forest until the 1850's. They clearcut the lower 2/3 of the state of trees, and blasted the stumps by the millions. All the hardwoods, some as old as a few hundred years were floated to mills all along the great lakes.

Times sure have changed.

26 posted on 02/20/2004 8:05:48 PM PST by Dan Evans
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To: blackdog
You just triggered some memories. I grew up in Wisconsin.
I tried making some nitroglycerin. I had just finished distilling off some nitric acid when I bumped the ping pong table & dumped my product & broke dad's beakers & flasks.
The fact that I got no further is scientific proof that there is a God. I was thirteen. Dad is 90 now, I think I'll call him and finally fess up.
27 posted on 02/20/2004 8:09:12 PM PST by Cold Heart (I have to drive my SUV a full year to feed 5 acres of rain forest)
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To: blackdog
Thanks for that from a Wisconsin resident.

Most people don't realize that Wisconsin is nicknamed the badger state not from the animal but rather from the lead miners that settled this region long ago, specifically in the southwest part of the state. They were so-called because they used their tools-of-the-trade not only to mine; but also to burrow their abodes underground to escape the Wisconsin winters.

There are probably a dozens of such caches underground, and if they haven't blown by now, they probably won't.
28 posted on 02/20/2004 8:09:16 PM PST by CruisinAround
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To: AdamSelene235
Ah - a serious question deserves a serious answer - yes, in fact dynamite "freezes" at 42-46 Fahrenheit and they did use to transport it that way...but get it still colder and it becomes extremely sensitive to shock. The fact is that the old stuff is unpredictable in just about any form. I wouldn't really run a blowtorch over it.

A cigarette lighter, yes. But it would have to be one of those long grill-lighting thingies... ;-)

29 posted on 02/20/2004 8:31:51 PM PST by Billthedrill
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To: Uncle George
The official recommendation is to burn it, but in small quantities dispersed throughout a wood fire laid out in a fairly large rectangle.

There are known exceptions to the contention that dynamite simply "burns" when ignited, especially when large concentrated quantities are involved.

Hatcher's Notebook describes the effects of a few disasters involving burning of very large quantities of explosives.

While burning 500+ pounds of old dynamite all in one stack would probably not cause a disaster, the chances for a detonation are large enough that I would recommend carefully separating it it into 25 lb lots each dispersed throughout a 4' x 25' bed of kindling before burning.

But then I am kind of a wuss on things like that...

30 posted on 02/20/2004 8:48:02 PM PST by CurlyDave
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To: Eric in the Ozarks; U S Army EOD; EODGUY; gatorbait; Riley; Squantos; wattsup
Old dynamite grows "hair," if its not used within a reasonable time. We dropped the stuff down the ANFO drill holes to get rid of it.

And gives you headaches.

31 posted on 02/20/2004 8:49:17 PM PST by archy (Concrete shoes, cyanide, TNT! Done dirt cheap! Neckties, contracts, high voltage...Done dirt cheap!)
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To: archy
Well now that it's got publicity, every scotch (vodka, gin, brandy take your pick) drinking deer hunter with anything bigger than 30.06 will be out there plinking at it from 100 yards out.
32 posted on 02/20/2004 8:57:11 PM PST by HardStarboard ( Wesley...gone. Hillary......not gone enough!)
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To: CurlyDave; spatzie
There are known exceptions to the contention that dynamite simply "burns" when ignited, especially when large concentrated quantities are involved.

Hatcher's Notebook describes the effects of a few disasters involving burning of very large quantities of explosives.

I recall one instance in southern Indiana south of Switz City, Indiana in the early 1960s, involving a wooden C&EI railroad boxcar with the older friction bearing wheelsets that suffered a journal bearing hotbox that set fire to the car and its contents.

Fitted with one of the then fairly new metal catwalks aboard its roof, when the car exploded, the catwalk was one of the few pieces found, over a mile and a half away. Another was the manual brake wheel, found about a half mile away...in the other direction. Glass windows in area farm residences were broken out to around 4 miles away.

33 posted on 02/20/2004 9:12:44 PM PST by archy (Concrete shoes, cyanide, TNT! Done dirt cheap! Neckties, contracts, high voltage...Done dirt cheap!)
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To: Eric in the Ozarks
It's OK when frozen unless it starts to sweat. When that happens you have to treat it like Nitro. One bump and BOOM
34 posted on 02/20/2004 9:19:48 PM PST by wattsup (wattsup)
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To: mhking
"Local law enforcement officials did not learn about the explosives until last week. Joe Farmer, a DOT real estate supervisor, blamed the delay in informing them on an internal communication error in his agency."

Government bumbling in a post 9/11 environment?

35 posted on 02/20/2004 9:44:10 PM PST by endthematrix (To enter my lane you must use your turn signal!)
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To: HardStarboard
Well now that it's got publicity, every scotch (vodka, gin, brandy take your pick) drinking deer hunter with anything bigger than 30.06 will be out there plinking at it from 100 yards out.

Hold muh beer, and watch this....

36 posted on 02/20/2004 9:49:27 PM PST by archy (Concrete shoes, cyanide, TNT! Done dirt cheap! Neckties, contracts, high voltage...Done dirt cheap!)
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To: endthematrix
"Local law enforcement officials did not learn about the explosives until last week. Joe Farmer, a DOT real estate supervisor, blamed the delay in informing them on an internal communication error in his agency."

Government bumbling in a post 9/11 environment?

Ironically, it was against the law for him to give it to anyone else for disposal. Obey the law as best as you can, endanger your neighbors.

37 posted on 02/20/2004 9:51:58 PM PST by archy (Concrete shoes, cyanide, TNT! Done dirt cheap! Neckties, contracts, high voltage...Done dirt cheap!)
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To: mhking
"I'm scared and I'm angry," said Shirley Cipra, who lives about 500 feet from the shed. "We've been here all these years. I get sick to my stomach when I think how many times my whole family has been there in danger."

They always have to find one person that has freaked out... sheesh. If you werent home and never got a call from the reporter you would have never known. People like that drive me bonkers.
38 posted on 02/20/2004 9:56:36 PM PST by Walkingfeather
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To: mhking
I don't suppose anyone would think to put a big tent over the shed and slowly warm it up instead of waiting till spring.
39 posted on 02/20/2004 9:56:58 PM PST by templar
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To: archy
Which is when it is time to break out the ice cream.

My question to all you people that are going to burn it is how you plan to get it out of the shed? If it has been there long enough the shed itself being wood will absorb some of the exuding nitro and it also will be explosive. If you try to burn the dynamite and the shed also, you had better stand by for an high order because it could and IT DOES HAPPEN. Good luck, and take pictures.
40 posted on 02/20/2004 10:57:15 PM PST by U S Army EOD (Volunteer for EOD and you will never have to worry about getting wounded.)
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To: Walkingfeather
But she will be among the people who have to try and watch when the dynamite is removed and will have to be told to get out of the way when it is moved.
41 posted on 02/20/2004 11:01:28 PM PST by U S Army EOD (Volunteer for EOD and you will never have to worry about getting wounded.)
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To: U S Army EOD
Could they cover the whole thing with a mound of dirt, then ignite it inside?
42 posted on 02/20/2004 11:06:59 PM PST by HiTech RedNeck
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To: mhking
It's best to move dynamite when it IS frozen.....it is most stable then.
43 posted on 02/20/2004 11:23:12 PM PST by Radioactive
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To: HiTech RedNeck
That would contain the heat and be very impractical. Best to wait for the thaw.
44 posted on 02/20/2004 11:27:55 PM PST by U S Army EOD (Volunteer for EOD and you will never have to worry about getting wounded.)
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To: wattsup
We used a 2 inch blasting agent called Tovex to shoot coal. Non-dynamite. Looked like gray grease in a sausage tube.
Jam a screwdriver in it to make a hole, then insert cap, wrap wire and insert 30 or 40 of them. Run wires to blasting machine. Get waaaay back.
45 posted on 02/21/2004 6:08:11 AM PST by Eric in the Ozarks
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To: Cold Heart
So you had a copy of the "Anarchist's Cookbook" too eh?
46 posted on 02/21/2004 8:21:29 AM PST by blackdog (Churchill si veveret, ad remum dareris!)
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To: blackdog
Actually it was my Dads fault. He was the one that got my brother & I up early to watch Continental Classroom, a college chemistry class, on TV before we trotted off to school.

47 posted on 02/21/2004 8:55:27 AM PST by Cold Heart (If you follow the government food pyramid you will look like it)
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