Local

Roadblocks and explosions rattle Oakhurst residents

Friday, December 03, 2010

For the past few days, people in the Madera county town of Oakhurst have been rocked by controlled explosions. The blasts come after the discovery of bomb-making chemicals at a home on Vista Del Rio Drive.

Investigators discovered the bomb making materials Wednesday. Since then, they've spent several hours detonating the harmful chemicals.

Linda Heitkamp said, "You still come out of your chair. My dog comes off the ground. It's very loud. Very loud explosion."

Over the past two days, Linda Heitkamp's quaint Oakhurst neighborhood has been rocked by a dozen explosions as experts detonated bomb-making chemicals.

Erica Stuart said, "There were a significant number of chemicals and it was scattered throughout the home."

The Madera County Sheriff's Office says the man who owns the 3,000 square foot home died in another state last month.

A deputy made the startling discovery Wednesday while he accompanied someone in charge of getting the deceased homeowners affairs in order.

"They saw a bunch of chemicals that initially looked like they manufacture methamphetamine and that was enough for them to call out our narcotic task force--mad nat," said Stuart.

Eventually the bomb squad arrived and ruled out meth. Then, in the middle of the investigation, the bomb squad received another call.

An Action News viewer shot this video as they dealt with a box of blasting caps some dropped off at a nearby thrift store. Officials brought the blasting caps to the home and detonated them alongside the other chemicals.

"First, they had to dig a trench that was in a safe location, put the chemicals in there, and then detonate them," said Stuart.

Officials still don't know if the blasting caps and chemicals are related. Meanwhile, shocked neighbors say they haven't seen anyone inside the home for years.

Larry Smith said, "I wasn't aware of anything going on in the house there, so it's just nice to be done with though."

At this point, investigators say they have removed all of the harmful chemicals from the home. Now, they have to figure out why they were there in the first place.

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oakhurst, madera county, local, shannon handy
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