Authorities burn down explosive-laden CA house

By Julie Watson

Associated Press

Published: Thursday, Dec. 9 2010 12:00 a.m. MST

Residents, who had been evacuated from the neighborhood, were expected to be allowed to return by Thursday night.

Authorities plan to assess the property and then bring in hazardous material crews to remove two to six inches of topsoil from the half-acre lot to ensure no dangerous residue was left behind.

Police and prosecutors can now turn their full attention to Jakubec.

The out-of-work software consultant, 54, has pleaded not guilty to charges of making destructive devices and robbing three banks.

Jakubec rented the house for more than a year. Authorities say he filled it with enormous quantities of explosive chemicals, including the kinds used by suicide bombers and insurgents in Iraq and Afghanistan.

The materials included Pentaerythritol tetranitrate, or PETN, the explosive used in the 2001 airliner shoe-bombing attempt as well as airplane cargo bombs discovered last month.

Bomb experts determined the house was too dangerous to enter, so they drew up plans to burn it down.

The home was so cluttered with unstable chemicals that even bomb-disposing robots couldn't be used to enter it, for fear of setting off an explosion. Nearly every room had piles of explosive material and items related to making homemade bombs, prosecutors said.

A coffee table was found cluttered with documents and strewn with detonators, they said.

In the backyard, bomb technicians found six mason jars with highly unstable Hexamethylene triperoxide diamine, or HMDT, which can explode if stepped on. The jars were discovered after a gardener accidentally set off an explosion by stepping on an HMDT byproduct, they said.

As Abernethy watched the fire, she wondered how all of it could have happened in her neighborhood.

"Some people have crazy minds," she said. "You just never know who you are living next to."

Associated Press writer Elliot Spagat contributed to this report.

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