Evacuation lifted after dynamite found under Park City home

Mar 26, 2018, 6:00 PM | Updated: 9:42 pm

PARK CITY — The discovery of a box containing sticks of dynamite prompted the evacuation of several streets in Park City’s Old Town neighborhood for more than three hours on Monday.

“It’s still potentially very dangerous,” said Phil Kirk, a captain with Park City’s police department, about the old dynamite.

Kirk said the dynamite was found underneath a home located at 911 Empire Avenue around 10 a.m. Monday and it appears to be left over from the city’s silver mining era.

Bomb squads from Unified Fire Authority and the Salt Lake City Fire Department both responded to remove the dynamite. Residents were allowed back to their homes about 1:30 p.m.

Construction crews found the dynamite buried in a crawl space under the home, which was undergoing a historic preservation.

“It looked like clay wrapped in a tamale,” said John Whiteley with J.W. Excavating. “The paper that it was wrapped in was really, really old—stiff.”

At first, Whiteley said his workers didn’t realize they had found dynamite.

“We, probably unwisely, chose to play with it a little bit,” Whiteley said. “We were handing it and breaking it and seeing what was in it.”

As the bomb squad left, Whiteley said he was told that the old sticks of dynamite were highly unstable and very dangerous.

“It was 8.5 on a 10-scale danger level,” he said, adding that touching the dynamite turned out to be “not very smart.”

The owner of the home said he had expected to possibly find old artifacts under the home, but was surprised by the unsafe discovery.

“There’s always something quirky,” Tom Peek said of restoring old homes. “You find old bottles, old things underneath but not often do you find potentially something explosive under them.”

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Evacuation lifted after dynamite found under Park City home