Construction crew stumbles across dynamite cache in home - | Chattanooga News, Weather & Sports

Construction crew stumbles across dynamite cache in home

By Megan Boatwright
Channel 3 Eyewitness News Reporter

CHATTANOOGA (WRCB) - The home at 906 Martin Luther King Blvd. is being renovated, and a construction crew found a box of dynamite Monday. 

On the other side,  UTC student was stunned when an Alcohol Tobacco & Firearm agent came knocking.

In all his years of running construction sites, what Ray James found Monday in a closet under a staircase is a first. 

"We got a plastic thing out," says James.  "It had 6 sticks in it, we got one out and looked at it." 

Which turns out was the last thing he should have done, because what he was holding was dynamite.

"I just grabbed all my stuff for class," says Christabel Herron who lives on the right side of the duplex.  The UTC Student WAS Shocked when an ATF agent knocked on her door

"That's really scary," says Herron.  "Especially since the renovations have been going on for the past 3 weeks." 

Herron along with the residents of two other homes were forced to quickly move out so the bomb squad could move in.

"There's a long and very detailed process that goes into preparing unstable explosives for physical movement," says Captain David Woosley with the Chattanooga Bomb Squad.  He says they counted 91 sticks of nitroglycerin dynamite total, and they had been there for a while.

"A large amount of nitroglycerin had leached out of the dynamite and formed into crystals," Woosley says.  "Which makes it very, very difficult to move." 

Difficult and even more dangerous.  That much dynamite could have easily leveled 3 homes on the 900 block of MLK Blvd.  A sobering reality for Herron, who thought she was getting a deal when she moved in 5 months.

"If something had sparked or would have gone wrong then it would have exploded," says the student.  "We would have exploded." 

That side of the duplex has been empty for 30 years, but police say the dynamite was put there deliberately.  The question is who did it and when.

Police remind you if you ever come across explosives, call them don't try to handle it yourself.

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