Crews detonate ‘ancient dynamite’ found in Holladay home

Apr 24, 2024, 6:12 AM | Updated: Apr 25, 2024, 10:57 am

One of two controlled detonations of old dynamite is seen in Holladay on April 24, 2024. (KSL TV)...

One of two controlled detonations of old dynamite is seen in Holladay on April 24, 2024. (KSL TV)


HOLLADAY, Utah — Early Wednesday morning, the Unified Fire Authority Bomb Squad detonated ‘ancient dynamite’ that had been found in a Holladay home. A resident found the explosives in a house near 6200 South and 2300 East and reported the find on Tuesday evening. 

According to Unified Fire Authority Assistant Chief Riley Pilgrim, the homeowner discovered the explosives while cleaning the home. The homeowner had been handed a stick of the ancient dynamite by someone who was helping her. 

Unsure of what to do, she called a friend for help. 

After the pair realized just how much dynamite was in the home, they called emergency services for help. Pilgrim said that the storage did not appear to be nefarious. 

“It is scary because some people just hold onto stuff and we’re not sure why,” said Pilgrim. 

The situation demanded “a lot of complex problem-solving.” The homeowner found dynamite throughout the property, in the shed and home. 

Authorities confirmed that “there was a significant quantity of very old dynamite stored within [the] property,” Pilgrim said. 

Risks posed by ancient dynamite

“When dynamite ages, it begins to crystalize,” said Pilgrim. 

The materials within the explosive become increasingly sensitive with age. According to Pilgrim, old dynamite could detonate if it is dropped or exposed to a certain amount of light.

Authorities determined that, to dispose of it elsewhere, they would have to move some of the ancient dynamite quite far. 

“We evaluated our options as too unsafe to put people in there to actually move it,” said Pilgrim. While the bomb specialists have tools, such as a robot, they determined that it also could not retrieve them. 

“For the sake of the adjacent properties and the first responders the best method was to detonate the dynamite,” said Pilgrim. “It just wasn’t safe to move it out.” 

It took several hours to prepare the surrounding area. At around 12:20 a.m., authorities evacuated areas within 1500 feet of the home. According to Pilgrim, about 700 people had to leave their homes. 

At around 4 a.m., authorities detonated the explosives. The blast rendered the house “unlivable” but left nearby properties intact.

“It had to be dealt with as soon as we were prepared to do it,” said Pilgrim. 

Related: ‘I think a house just blew up’: 911 calls document initial response to American Fork home explosion



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Crews detonate ‘ancient dynamite’ found in Holladay home