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Dynamite Discovery Causes Yarnell Evacuation

Dynamite (pictured above) in use during the construction of Douglas Dam, a Tennessee hydroelectric dam built in record time in the early 1940s to meet emergency energy needs at the height of World War II. (Public domain photo)

Sedona AZ (May 18, 2017) – On May 17, 2017, around 2:15 in the afternoon, two men walked into the Yarnell Sheriff’s substation to report finding a box of dynamite while hiking in the Skull Valley area. They explained to the Yavapai County Sheriff’s Office supervisor how, after finding a partially exposed metal lock box, they removed it and brought it home, cut off its lock and discovered sticks of dynamite inside. The two men had brought the box to the Yarnell Sheriff’s station.

Deputies placed the metal box in an unoccupied section of the station parking lot and, due to the risk of detonation, several nearby areas were evacuated including the Yarnell Justice Court, a local church, an access road, and a few homes in the vicinity. The Arizona Department of Public Safety bomb squad was notified and asked to respond.

Just after 5:00 in the evening, the DPS bomb squad arrived and determined the box held about twenty-five one pound sticks of dynamite. Officers placed the box in a controlled environment for a ride to a remote area north of Peeples Valley. At that location, with Yarnell Fire Officials standing by, the dynamite was detonated.

The origin of the dynamite is unknown at this time.

TIP OF THE DAY – When finding obvious explosives, best practices dictate NOT to move the object, but simply report the content and location to law enforcement officials. IF AT ALL POSSIBLE, DO NOT BRING SUCH ITEMS INTO POPULATION CENTERS. Law enforcement officers will always assume any explosive material has a potential to detonate, no matter the apparent condition of the material. Public safety is always the first priority in these instances.

Citizens can contact the Yavapai County Sheriff’s Office with information or questions at 928-771-3260 or the YCSO website at www.ycsoaz.gov.

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