Bomb squad diffuses potentially explosive situation

By Juan Carlos Fanjul
Posted by Rachel Leigh

ST. LUCIE, FL (WFLX) - An electrician makes an explosive find in the attic of a local home. The previous owner had left a booby trap.

The people who bought the home got it in foreclosure. It was a fixer-upper, and they were having some work done on it. But they had no idea about the danger that remained: A bomb in the attic that could have gone off at any moment.

"He told me I needed to get everybody out of the house," said Richard Revels after being confronted by a St. Lucie County Deputy. The Lakewood Park resident was scared to death about an explosive found in a home nearby in the northern St. Lucie County neighborhood.

An air conditioning contractor was working on the air ducts in the attic when he found the device and immediately dialed 911. "It's a booby trap," said St. Lucie County Lieutenant Larry Hostetler.

Turns out, the home was a marijuana grow house shut down by the St. Lucie County Sheriff's office in 2006. The device had a trip wire attached to it and could have set the whole house on fire.

Booby traps are used "to conceal evidence or injure law enforcement officers who are taking down the grow house," said Hostetler.

By the time the bomb squad arrived, the contractor had taken down the device which was rushed to the fairgrounds to be detonated safely away from life and property. "To have a booby trap like that with a home like that and neighbors being so close together, it's pretty dangerous, oh, yeah," said Revels.

Grow houses are nothing new in Saint Lucie County. More than 100 have been shut down in the past two years. And unfortunately, say authorities, booby traps are not that uncommon either.

Making the fight against drugs even more dangerous. "Usually, they are a deterrent for people trying to rob them or law enforcement. So a lot of devices across the country are found regularly," said Hostetler.