07 September 2023- Bomb Technicians conducted a controlled detonation on explosives unearthed during a construction project behind the Sam’s Club on Thursday afternoon.
At around 10:00 a.m., construction workers were moving dirt and rock for a storm water retention pond in the 1700 block of Wesel Boulevard when they saw a suspicious item. They immediately stopped work and called 911. The Hagerstown Police Department, the Hagerstown Fire Department, the Hagerstown Fire Marshal, and the Halfway Fire Department responded, and upon observing the item, the Hagerstown Fire Marshal’s Office requested the Bomb Squad.
Bomb Technicians examined the explosives and, after an extensive evaluation, concluded the safest and most effective way of rendering the explosive material safe was to conduct an onsite emergency disposal. With the assistance of allied agencies, Sam’s Club and nearby hotels were evacuated to ensure the public was safe, and just before 3:00 p.m., the detonation occurred.
This is the second time the Bomb Squad has responded to this location. On July 18, the Hagerstown Fire Department and the Office of the State Fire Marshal Bomb Squad responded to the same area when a construction crew unearthed an explosive. Bomb technicians deployed a robot and determined they could safely remove the explosive from the area to the Beaver Creek quarry, where the device was rendered safe.
Maryland State Fire Marshal Brian S. Geraci praised the employee’s mindfulness and reminded the public to practice the three R’s when a suspicious device is located. “Recognize that any suspicious objects found should not be touched under any circumstances. Retreat or carefully leave the area. Report the device immediately and its location to a 911 dispatcher,” stated Geraci.
Geraci also commended the cooperation between the City of Hagerstown and Hagerstown Fire Department. “We have a long history of working with the Hagerstown Fire Marshal’s Office, and evacuating an area is an incredible and lengthy task. It’s rare, but it is done out of an abundance of caution. I want to thank Chief Lohr and Mayor Martinez for their assistance, but most importantly, the visitors and citizens impacted by evacuation. Everyone thanks you for your cooperation,” said Geraci.