Sheriff’s office warns of dangerous old explosives
As winter gives way to spring and residents start the ritual of seasonal cleaning, the Garfield County Sheriff’s Office is warning homeowners and others about the surprising discovery of an item more common than people might think: old explosive devices.
“It is surprising how much of that stuff can be out there laying around,” said Walt Stowe, chief communications officer with the Garfield County Sheriff’s Office.
Such was the case roughly a year ago when family members were cleaning the property of a deceased relative at a ranch between Silt and Rifle. Relatives discovered a small cache of explosives in a tool shed near the home during that process and quickly contacted law enforcement, according to a press release.
Responders secured the area and called the Grand Junction-based bomb squad, which used a remote robot to transport the explosives to a field a safe distance from the residence. They were placed in a shallow pit and detonated.
Explosives were commonly used for a number of reasons by ranchers, farmers, construction workers and others in western Colorado, according to the press release. Unused devices were often stored in barns or sheds where they were forgotten as time passed.
As explosives age they can become less stable, and slight movement or friction can cause the materials to detonate.
Should you find explosives, the message is straightforward: Do not touch them and call law enforcement immediately, Stowe said.
The warning issued last week by the sheriff’s office comes less than two weeks after law enforcement discovered “an illegal homemade explosive device” during a traffic stop in the Rifle area.
According to an activity report, the incident occurred around 5:47 p.m. Feb. 17 in the 1400 block of Airport Road. The device was handed over to the bomb squad out of Grand Junction.
Stowe did not have any additional information on the incident at the time, other than the driver was issued a summons for the traffic violation.
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Former Rifle Bears standout turned starting running back for Western Colorado University Ty Leyba remembers it like it was yesterday.