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Explosives Found in Holmes-Foster; State College Neighborhood Partially Evacuated

on April 12, 2011 2:53 AM

CLARIFICATION @ 5:03 p.m. April 13: While initial reports from the scene indicated that munitions were found at the location of this incident, State College police later confirmed that the explosives discovered were of a commercial nature. The term "munitions" carries military implications; the explosives discovered, identified as dynamite, did not appear to have a military use.

Earlier coverage is posted below.

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UPDATED @ 6:07 a.m. April 12: The home where the munitions were found Monday is on the 200 block of South Gill Street, according to a State College police news release issued overnight.

It says a resident discovered the munitions -- "a large quantity of commercial explosives" -- in a detached garage. "Due to their age," the release reads, "the explosives had begun to deteriorate, and had become a significant hazard." Police responded to the scene about 3:15 p.m.

The Penn State/State College Joint Bomb Squad was assisted by the Pennsylvania Sate Police Bomb Squad in removing the explosives. They were taken to a remote location and "safely disposed of," according to the release.

"The safety of residents in the area was of paramount concern to the State College police," it reads. "Residents in a one-block radius around the home were evacuated until all of the explosives had been removed from the area, and the route that was used to transport the explosives to the remote location was heavily monitored. Throughout the course of the incident, the State College Police Department was assisted by the Alpha Fire Company and their Fire Police, the Centre Region Emergency Management Coordinator, State College Public Works, Centre County 911, Boalsburg and Milesburg Fire Departments, Penn State and Ferguson Township Police Departments, Centre LifeLink, Salvation Army and Allegheny Power.

"The State College Police Department would like to thank all residents for their patience during the incident," it concludes.

Earlier coverage is posted below.

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Earlier report, posted @ 2:53 a.m. April 12:

The discovery of an old munitions cache in a Holmes-Foster home prompted a partial neighborhood evacuation late Monday, State College authorities confirmed.

A resident found the cache -- described as 25 to 30 pounds of aging dynamite -- at the home, not far from the South Sparks Street-West Foster Avenue intersection, according to reports at the scene.

Authorities called the cache "potentially hazardous" but said it had not been stored with any apparent sinister intent. Its presence appeared to have been a surprise Monday to the homeowner.

And while the dynamite seemed stable as it was sitting motionless, authorities were concerned that it may be more volatile in transit.

So, around 7 p.m., responders went door-to-door to evacuate the 600 block of West Foster Avenue, part of the 200 block of South Gill Street, the 200 block of South Sparks Street and the 600 block of West Highland Alley. Power was interrupted, too, as emergency workers got the munitions out of the neighborhood and into another area for disposal.

Those streets were reopened -- and the evacuation order was lifted -- shortly after midnight.

StateCollege.com will post more information as it becomes available.

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