SOUTH JORDAN — Calling it a “literal minefield” and a “public nuisance,” South Jordan officials have filed a civil lawsuit in an effort to take control of a house where highly explosive materials were discovered so that it can be razed.
“The McManigal house is and will remain a literal minefield until the structure is demolished,” the city says in its lawsuit filed Tuesday. “There is no safe way to locate and neutralize the highly explosive and unstable materials that may still exist inside the McManigal house. The only way to safely abate the dangerous nuisance that this home has become is to follow a plan prepared by experts which will necessitate that the home be torn down and burned.”
Ryan McManigal, 43, currently faces felony charges in two cases, including multiple counts of attempted aggravated murder and possessing a weapon of mass destruction, following several incidents last summer.
On July 23, officers from numerous police agencies served a search warrant on McManigal’s house, 3371 W. Snow Moon Place, using an armored truck to drive up to his front door. As police approached, McManigal started shooting at the vehicle, according to charging documents.
Once he was taken into custody and police started going through his house, approximately 20 pounds of highly explosive materials and partially made bombs were discovered. Triacetone triperoxide, or TATp, an extremely explosive substance sometimes referred to as “Mother of Satan,” and methyl ethyl ketone peroxide, or MEKp, a similar highly explosive chemical, were both found inside the house.
Because of the extreme volatile nature of the explosives, approximately 600 homes and 30 businesses were evacuated for most of the July 24 holiday as bomb experts — including some from the federal government — detonated the materials on site, according to court records, resulting in McManigal’s house suffering extensive damage.
According to the civil lawsuit, multiple gallons of liquid TATp were found in McManigal’s basement and could not be removed safely, so they were detonated on site. When it was detonated, “the force of the blast was so severe that it bowed out the load bearing walls and lifted the entire first floor of the home several inches off of the foundation,” the lawsuit states.
The house has been condemned since July and no one is allowed inside.
But in the months following McManigal’s arrest, several relatives illegally entered his house and “started making repairs to the home in the hopes of salvaging the structure, but without first seeking court approval,” according to the city’s lawsuit.
On Oct. 31, one person working in the home suffered serious injury when another explosion was triggered.
As recently as Dec. 19, police have had to respond to the McManigal house for trespassers, according to the lawsuit.
Now the city wants to take control of the house so it can be demolished.
“The McManigal house, in its current condition, presents a public and private health risk that endangers all that enter,” the lawsuit states. “Since the second explosion, it is apparent that the home is and remains an extremely dangerous nuisance to the public.”
According to the lawsuit, the liquid TATp inside the house has crystalized by now. It is believed that the man injured on Oct. 31 “stepped on that area of the floor where the crystalized TATp was located, that pressure was enough to cause an explosion,” the lawsuit states.
The crystalized TATp “may have splashed on the walls or ceiling, seeped into and under the carpet, leached through the drywall, cracks or joints, or may have been washed or poured down any one of the several drains in the home,” the suit contends.
“There is no reliable and safe way to detect much less ameliorate the TATp that remains in the McManigal house. Walking on the floor, as one victim already found out, could cause an explosion. Conducting any sort of repair or demolition inside the house could set off the dangerous chemical. Even putting a nail in the wall in the wrong place to hang a picture could be deadly.”
The lawsuit further states that according to explosive experts, “the only way to completely, finally and safely abate the nuisance is to collapse the home, burn it, and remove all debris.”
The city is asking a judge to either order McManigal and his limited liability company that owns the house, Freedom Bridge LLC, to make that happen, or to turn the house over to South Jordan officials so they can tear it down and burn it.