It was a tense scene in the Brunswick County community of Navassa Wednesday afternoon as Hazmat crews were called in to diffuse a potentially explosive situation.
A routine home remodeling project turned out to be anything but when contractors found what they thought to be dynamite.
”We stumbled upon these containers, old boxes that had rotted away already, and so we figured it was dynamite. So me and my two co-workers, we figured that the proper thing to do was to call it in to authorities,” said Everett Jackson of Holland Construction.
After calling 9-1-1, crews were quickly on the scene.
Fire departments, bomb squads, and police departments from Wilmington, Leland, Sunny Point, and Brunswick County all responded and evacuated the twenty or so homes on Pine Valley Drive.
Neighbors were understandably concerned.
”I am kind of worried and don’t want to get hurt or anything. As far as the property or anything, or houses or anything like that, that’s material things. But as far as people’s lives that’s something you can’t replace,” said Precious Montgomery.
At 2:10, after more than three hours of evacuation with little information from authorities, there was an explosion.
“I run and boom! I was excited because I knew that they were finished. A job well done,” said Barbara Watson, the homeowner.
That boom was crews detonating the suspicious material. What the contractors thought was dynamite turned out to be old industrial batteries.
The owner of the 118-year old home was just happy to have the whole thing over. “Scary, that’s the thing I can say, is scary and blessed. That no-one was injured, the crime scene came in, they took care of it, it was great,” Watson said.
Brunswick County emergency management officials say that even though the material found was not explosive, this was the right procedure to follow. When dealing with old, unstable materials – it’s better to be safe than sorry.