Saturday, November 25, 2017 Elyria 49°


Homeowner finds 50 sticks of explosives dating back to the ’60s in Lorain backyard


LORAIN — A city neighborhood had a potentially explosive situation Wednesday, and it wasn’t related to the fireworks show taking place later in the evening.

Several blocks were evacuated during the morning after a homeowner discovered bags of dynamite that may have dated back to the 1960s.

Lorain police Capt. Tom Mize said Doug Majka found about 50 sticks of dynamite underneath a pool filtration tank in the backyard of 1708 W. 23rd St.

Police blocked off the area — between West 21st and West 24th streets and Pole and Marshall avenues — for several hours while they burned the dynamite in the road to get rid of it.

“We’re burning it on the scene until it’s safe to move what’s left of it,” Mize said. “According to the bomb people, the chance of it exploding is slim. Given the info that it’s very old, it can be very dangerous to move.”

Mize said using diesel fuel to burn the dynamite was less risky than gas, because diesel fuel burns at a slow rate.

The process of burning the dynamite involved an individual in a bomb suit pouring diesel fuel on the dynamite and igniting it. A bomb robot prodded at the bomb throughout the day, making sure that the dynamite would not explode.

Dynamite is illegal to own without a permit, but considering how old the dynamite might be, it’s unclear who might have owned it, Mize said. He added that in 28 years as a police officer, he’s never seen anything like the situation Wednesday.

“I’ve been to a few calls, but never anything as big as this,” he said.

Majka said he found it last night and posted about it on Facebook. He didn’t do anything else about it until this morning, when his mother instructed him to call police. Police received the call at

7:15 a.m.

“I guess mothers are always right,” Majka said Wednesday.

The only regret Majka had was calling police before he ate his breakfast as rescue crews cordoned off the area, preventing residents from entering their homes. He and his dog Buddy sat outside of the taped off area for hours, watching the dynamite slowly burn.

“One of the first responders actually warned me that this could get pretty big,” he said.

Mize’s advice to anyone else who might find an explosive on their property: “Don’t mess with it” and call police.

Besides Lorain police, the Red Cross, Lorain County Bomb Squad, LifeCare and the Lorain Fire Department responded to the scene.

The dynamite took several hours to burn, but no injuries were reported.

Contact Chelsea Miller at 329-7123 or

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