Federal agents are questioning a Bluffdale man after seizing more than three tons of explosive material from his property Thursday.
Agents armed with a search warrant went onto the property of Donald Wooley Hall at midday and desensitized three tons of explosive ammonium nitrate. The officers sprayed the chemical with diesel oil, rendering it harmless, U.S. Attorney David Jordan said."We spent yesterday taking all three tons out to Camp Williams and burning it," Salt Lake County Fire Capt. Dennis Steadman said. "We ignited it all at once last night about 7 p.m."
The desensitized explosive burned "like a great big pond of diesel fuel," he said.
Federal, state and county specialists returned to the residence Friday morning. "We are going to spend the morning walking through the field and mapping the area and marking other barrels found on the property for sampling. Then our teams will go back in and draw samples out of the barrels. We will send the samples into the state labs for testing," Steadman said.
After state experts identify the contents of several barrels on the property, officials will seek a court order to move any deemed dangerous, Steadman said.
Salt Lake County Fire officials spotted the explosives when Hall invited them on his property in August to help him dispose of " stick of dynamite." When Bluffdale and county firefighters arrived to assist in the disposal, he led them to a storage shed that contained 800 pounds of explosives in a deteriorating condition, Jordan said.
While the officials were disposing of the explosives, Salt Lake County Fire bomb technician Dennis Stanley noticed the ammonium nitrate piled nearby. When he asked Hall about the explosive, Hall refused to let him examine it, instead asking them to leave.
If the chemical had exploded, it would have destroyed everything within a half-mile, said John M. Minichino, Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms resident agent in charge. "The shock from the blast would be felt in downtown Salt Lake City."
ATF agents obtained a search warrant and returned to the property Thursday along with Salt Lake County deputy sheriffs.
Hall would not say why he had the explosives but said they came from Ireco, a Salt Lake-based explosives manufacturer, Jordan said. An Ireco spokesman said the company has no knowledge of the chemicals being on the Bluffdale property.