MOUNT VERNON — Suspicious-looking sticks resembling dynamite brought the Columbus Division of Fire Bomb Squad to Mount Vernon on Tuesday.
According to Mount Vernon Fire Department Chief Shawn Christy, a Mount Vernon resident brought the sticks to the MVFD around 10:45 Tuesday morning and dropped them off.
“He said it just appeared at his house,” Christy said. The 10-inch long sticks were about an inch in diameter. “They were brown with no identifying marks,” Christy said. All of the sticks had fuses.
“The gentleman stated he thought it was dynamite and didn’t know what to do with it,” Christy said. “He had contacted the police department and they forwarded him to us.”
Christy secured the sticks in an outside building with key code only access and contacted the Columbus Division of Fire Bomb Squad. The chief described the sticks to one of the Columbus bomb experts over the phone.
“He was unsure and thought there was potential that it could be dynamite,” Christy said. A response vehicle with three technicians and a Columbus ambulance with two paramedics responded early in the afternoon.
“They were unsure after looking at it as well,” Christy said. “They removed the fuses and felt the best way to handle the sticks was to soak them in diesel fuel and burn them.”
Using a large metal pan filled with diesel fuel the MVFD uses for fire extinguisher training, the technicians and a MVFD firefighter soaked the sticks in the fuel for about 15 minutes before igniting them.
When the burning was complete, the sifted through the remains. “After it was burned, it was their opinion it was not dynamite, but they were unsure,” Christy said. The opinion of the technicians was the sticks could have been some kind of pyrotechnical devices.
“Those guys were the utmost professionals and very knowledgeable,” said Christy.
The chief said the incident served as a reminder that residents who find such suspicious items should never take it upon themselves to move the items or bring them to the fire station.
“I just want to let the public know if they find something suspicious, don’t touch it,” Christy cautioned. “Leave it as it is, move people away, and contact us immediately.”
“Just leave it where it is and call us,” Christy said. “We will come take a look at it.”