Burning down Escondido bomb house is safest option

burning down the house

The Escondido bomb house was so contaminated with HMTD, a deadly high explosive, the safest solution was to burn it down. Image: CC 111 emergency/Flickr

The Escondido bomb house is a residence in Escondido, Calif., that is severely contaminated with extremely high-explosive material. A man who rented the Escondido bomb house had turned the home into a deadly bomb factory. The home is so unstable officials said the only way to protect the neighborhood was to burn the Escondido bomb house down.

Escondido bomb house steeped in HMTD

The Escondido bomb house was burned down Thursday at 11 a.m. PST. The bomb factory was discovered last month when a gardener was badly burned by an explosion after stepping on gravel in the back yard. Police searching the home were shocked to find a large stockpile of hexamethylene triperoxide diamine — HMTD. Officials called it  the largest stockpile of HMTD ever found in the U.S.  HMTD will detonate with the slightest exposure to heat, friction or impact. It is believed that the gardener had stepped on less than a gram of HMTD that had spilled on the ground. Police also found nine detonators and 13 grenade hulls packed with HMTD.

Inside the Escondido bomb house

Eight to nine pounds of HMTD were removed from the Escondido bomb house. George Djura Jakubec, 54, faces eight federal counts for making and possessing high-explosive devices. Jakubec has also been charged in three 2009 armed bank robberies in which he allegedly stole $54,000.  Officials fear that more HMTD remains and that the home may be booby-trapped. The site is so unstable a man on the bomb squad inadvertently set an off an explosion in the yard. After asking FBI bomb experts for advice, the San Diego County Sheriff decided to burn the Escondido bomb house down.

Burning down the house

To prepare the Escondido bomb house for its destruction, officials built a metal fence 16-feet high, reinforced with two layers of fire-resistant drywall. The blast wall was coated with flame-retardant gel. The house next door was boarded up and coated with the gel. Vegetation was cleared around the house. The Sheriff’s bomb squad cut holes in the roof. The neighborhood was given 48-hour notice of the burn. Interstate 15 was shut down north of Escondido, and people in the area have been told to close their doors and windows. The fire burned quickly at a temperature of about 1,800 degrees.


North County Times


NBC San Diego

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