Officials say all explosives and hazardous materials removed from site of San Diego County home
San Diego County officials said Saturday that they had successfully removed all explosives and hazardous materials from the site of the Escondido-area home labeled a “bomb factory,” which authorities burned to the ground last week.
Using backhoes and other equipment, emergency crews “scoured the site,” said Mark McPherson, chief of the county Department of Environmental Health’s Land and Water Quality Division.
“There is nothing left on the site that we have any concerns about,” McPherson said.
The site is “pretty much flat, leveled and blackened,” said Michael Drake, a department spokesman.
On Monday, state and county officials and a contractor will begin the final stage of the unusual demolition, hauling soil, ash and debris to a landfill.
Officials said the site will be sprayed to prevent soil or ash from rising. The final scrubbing is expected to take about three days.
County officials do not yet know how much the operation will cost, but considering it has involved 40 government agencies, it will be “not real cheap,” Drake said.
Authorities began investigating the single-story wood-frame house in the 1900 block of Via Scott in November after a gardener stepped on explosive residue, setting off a blast in the backyard.
The home’s occupant, George Jakubec, 54, who had worked as a software consultant, admitted to investigators that he possessed explosive materials. He has been charged with bomb-making and bank robbery and has pleaded not guilty.
Among the materials found in the home was pentaerythritol tetranitrate, which was used by Richard Reid in an attempt to destroy a trans-Atlantic commercial jet by detonating explosives in his shoes. He pleaded guilty to terrorism charges in 2002.
Jakubec, who had rented the home for more than three years, also had homemade grenades, blasting caps, ammunition and jars of acid, officials said. His motives remain unclear.
On Thursday, authorities burned down the home, saying it was the only way to ensure the neighborhood’s safety. The operation was broadcast nationwide.