Sacto 9-1-1
February 7, 2012
Death investigation turns up explosives in El Dorado County

A coroner's investigation of a of a man's death in a rural area of of El Dorado County turned up a store of explosive materials.

About 11:30 a.m. Friday, El Dorado County sheriff's deputies were called to the 2300 block of Sandridge Road in the southern part of the county regarding a report that a man had been found dead in his driveway. Deputies confirmed that Donald Smith, 69, appeared to have died of natural causes, according to a Sheriff's Department news release. As part of the coroner's investigation, deputies then undertook to inventory and ensure safe keeping of Smith's property.

While checking a shop located a ways from the main residence, deputies found items they believed to be of a suspicious nature. They summoned the sheriff's bomb squad, and technicians confirmed that the items were explosive ordnance and explosive compounds.

Because of nightfall, the bomb squad suspended operations until the following day.

Bomb squad technicians returned at 7 a.m. Saturday and began moving the explosive items to another part of the property where the could be safely detonated. Officials said area residents likely heard three large explosions between 11:30 a.m. and 6 p.m.

The Sheriff's Office was assisted by the Diamond Springs Fire Department, which provided an engine to handle potential fire.

A Beale Air Force Base team also assisted with identification and detonation of the explosives, and El Dorado County Environmental Management helped collect dangerous chemicals that had been at the residence.

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