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Bomb squad finds soap in boxes labeled TNT in Tooele home

Published: Thursday, Jan. 30 2014 6:37 a.m. MST

A bomb squad is on the scene of a home in Tooele after the person who purchased the home found what he told police looked like boxes of dynamite.

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TOOELE — Two boxes of old soap created a bomb scare in a Tooele neighborhood Wednesday night.

A bomb squad responded to a home at 163 E. 100 South after the new homeowner found what he told police looked like boxes of dynamite.

The two boxes labeled "Explosives/TNT" were discovered to contain homemade soap.

According to Tooele Community Services supervisor Bucky Whitehouse, the soap had gotten wet and had broken down over several years. The soap had started to foam, which is a common appearance of aging, volatile dynamite.

The previous owner of the home had no knowledge of the boxes, Whitehouse said.

Tooele city officials said about 20 homes were evacuated on the 200 East block of 100 South. The evacuation was canceled at 10:15 p.m.

The homeowner discovered the suspicious suds while doing maintenance work on the subfloor of his home, police said.

He called Tooele police about 6 p.m. Tooele police and firefighters responded and established a 500-foot perimeter in all directions from the home.

The Unified Fire Authority Bomb Squad arrived and used X-ray equipment to determine the contents of the boxes. The squad discovered that there wasn't anything dense enough to be explosive, Whitehouse said.

Upon further examination, containers labeled as soap were found deeper down in the boxes.

The Tooele County Health Department was opened as a reception center for the evacuees. Two of the 20 evacuated families arrived at the shelter. Health department staff, the American Red Cross and West Desert Amateur Radio Club operated the center.

"We're always going to yield on the side of caution," Whitehouse said. "We appreciate the patience of the residents."

Email: mjacobsen@deseretnews.com, mromero@deseretnews.com

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