Bomb Squad Called In to Detonate Explosive in Hazleton

HAZLETON, Pa. -- A bomb squad was called to Hazleton Friday morning to detonate an explosive found in an old medical kit.

City firefighters say they got two calls this morning about picric acid, an old chemical that was used for medical purposes.

Hazleton firefighters say small packages of picric acid were found in two homes in the city earlier in the day.

The acid was once used as an antiseptic for coal miners, but once it crystalizes, it becomes explosive.

Firefighters say recent reports of picric acid being found in other homes in our area have caused people in Hazleton to check their homes for the chemical which is what led to the discovery at the two homes in the city.

A bomb squad was called in to safely remove and detonate the acid.

"The problem, where it comes down to, in crystalized form it becomes explosive and it's sensitive to shock or needs a detonator to explode, however, no one has determined what amount of shock would make it detonate," explained Hazleton Deputy Fire Chief Brian Mandak.

Hazleton firefighters say if you find any of the acid in your home, you're told not to touch it and then call 911 to help you get rid of it.

"Everybody was safe," Mandak said. "If you find this stuff, don't play with it. Call in and we'll get the proper authorities to take care of it carefully."

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