Snow and Avalanche Center 2008 Avalanche News

Explosive discovery under porch
November 19, 2008

CRESTED BUTTE, Colo. – One Crested Butte neighbourhood had a brief scare after police learned that an explosive used for avalanche control had been stashed by a renter under the front porch of a house.

“The police were freaking out. They were yelling to stay away from the porch and get out the back of the house,” Ryan Hoynacki told the Crested Butte News. “There must have been six or seven cops there.”

Hoynacki moved into the house recently, and was told by the departing tenant that he had left the explosive under the porch.

Police found a round of explosives such as was used at the Crested Butte Mountain Resort until the 1970s. The explosive was used in a 75-mm recoilless, a cannon-like rifle originally developed as an anti-tank weapon. It has since been largely replaced by the Avalauncher, which creates a concussive blast of air to trigger avalanches. The older weapon created explosive fragments upon detonation.

Forest Service officials said they thought the recovered explosive was a partial dud, meaning it had only partially blasted. Whatever remained, whether partial or full, was removed by technicians from the U.S. Army, who detonated it at Fort Carson, near Fountain, Colo.

This isn’t the first time an explosive device has been found at a Crested Butte home. Unstable powder, such as was used in mining, was discovered several years ago by the new owner of a house within an old outbuilding.

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