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Carefree fire station evacuated after drop-off of possible explosives

8/31/16

CAREFREE – Rural Metro Fire Station 821 was evacuated for several hours on Friday evening after a bag with possible explosive devices was dropped off at the station.

Rural Metro Public Information Officer Shawn Gilleland noted that a citizen came to the Carefree fire station with items he had found while cleaning his father’s house. As the man was unsure what the items were, he brought them to the station to be identified. When the items were inspected, they were believed to be explosives, so firefighters immediately evacuated the station and notified the Maricopa County Sheriff’s Department.

“Maricopa County Sheriff’s assisted in securing the area, while the Explosive Ordinance Disposal (EOD) Team was in route,” Gilleland said via email. “The explosives were expertly removed by the Sheriff’s Office EDO team and transported away from the scene for safe destruction.”  

MCSO Public Information Officer Courtney Palma said that the device was described as “a tube with a wire coming out of it” and has not been identified as anything specific at this time; bomb techs removed it and safely disposed of it.

“In all, the incident took several hours to conclude, but fortunately our protocol for such events and the timely response of the Sheriff’s Department ensured the overall safety of all parties,” Gilleland said. He noted that Rural Metro’s existing protocols and logistics operated to guarantee adequate coverage for all residents while the Carefree station was out of service during the incident.

“Rural Metro would stress to all readers the importance of not moving any type of suspicious or unknown objects,” Gilleland emphasized. “If residents come across an unknown object or chemical, DO NOT transport it to the Fire Station. Rural Metro advises residents to leave it where it is and call the fire department or local law enforcement to come and identify it. Moving such objects can endanger not only the person, but taking them to a station could endanger or contaminate everyone at the station or the public.”

Gilleland said that this incident will hopefully be an educational moment for many other people, as it’s not uncommon for residents to transport potential dangerous items to fire stations.

“It happens more often than might be expected that items such as old dynamite, detonation cord, blasting caps, ammunition, grenades, hazardous chemicals are brought in by citizens who are trying to be responsible and dispose of the items, but do not fully understand the danger or hazard they are putting themselves and others in while doing so,” Gilleland said.