Governor issues emergency declaration; County provides health advice
December 2, 2010 (Escondido)--Sheriff’s officials, Sheriff’s Bomb/Arson Unit, Escondido Police and Fire, CHP and CALTRANS met today to discuss evacuation and traffic control plans prior to burning a home containing the largest stash of home-made explosives ever found in the U.S.
The Governor has declared San Diego County an emergency zone, meaning that environmental restrictions are waived. Some residents will be evacuated for the burn, while others are advised to shelter in place. However people with asthma or other respiratory conditions are advised to leave shelter-in-place areas during the burn. If ashes fall on your property, do not handle the ashes. Wash fruits and vegetables from your garden and do not allow children to play in ashes. Follow the health tips and cleanup instructions recommended by the county.
San Marcos Fire Department and a county contractor are working on Via Scott to prepare for the burn operation. Crews arrived at 7:00 a.m. to clear brush, plants, trees and wood fences that could catch fire. A protective wall is also being built to the north of 1954 Via Scott to protect a neighbor’s house from radiant heat. The 16 foot high metal frame wall stretches from the front porch to the patio. Attached to that metal frame is fire resistant dry wall. Spray gel will be applied on the day of the burn, the San Diego Sheriff’s office reports.
County HAZMAT tested its equipment on site yesterday. Today the division is working with California agencies on post burn cleanup procedures. County HAZMAT is coordinating with the Air Resources Board and the Air Pollution Control District on additional air monitoring to take place during the burn.
The Air Pollution Control District also installed a portable weather station on the roof of the Escondido Fire Department Fire Station No. 3 on Tuesday (November 30th) to get real time weather patterns and minimize surprises on the day of the burn. The location was chosen because it was close to the target house and there is security in the building.
George Jakubec, who was renting the home, faces multiple charges related to the explosives as well as two bank robberies. Authorities have not yet released information on his motives.
County officials indicate the County will not be liable to the homeowner for destruction of the home, however the owner may seek redress through her insurance company, depending on the policy wording. It is unclear whether the County would be liable should any damage occur to neighboring residences, though authorities assure that all reasonable precautions are being taken to protect area homes.
The burn will take place as soon as preparations are completed, weather permitting, with the most likely dates between December 8 and 10. Interstate 15 will be shut-down and some homes in the vicinity will be evacuated.
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