TWENTY trailers in a remote Manitoba First Nation community were evacuated Tuesday evening after a box containing 20 to 30 explosive blasting caps was reported to be in a person's yard, situated across from a playground.
After finding the blasting caps while cleaning an old commercial building, the man placed them in a box and brought them home, leaving them in his yard, according to RCMP in Pukatawagan, located approximately 800 kilometres north of Winnipeg.
"One of our members was driving in the community when he was alerted to the fact that this person was wondering what to do with these blasting caps," said RCMP spokeswoman Const. Line Karpish.
The officer secured the area with the help of the local fire department, evacuating 20 trailers.
"Our member consulted with the explosive-disposal unit, and they were able to move them to a secure compound away from public access," said Karpish.
The blasting caps stayed there overnight before the explosive-disposal unit flew out to dispose of the caps Wednesday morning, Karpish said. She said it would not take much to set off the caps, and the explosive-disposal unit told RCMP members to turn their radios off when dealing with them in order to avoid an explosion from exposure to electrical currents. A safe distance from the caps is 1.5 to three metres, but Karpish said they have the power to produce "a good boom."
"If they were to explode in someone's hand, it could certainly cause tissue damage," Karpish said. "Depending where it is, it could be as bad as blowing off the tip of a finger."
Karpish said this was not the first time someone has found explosives and carried them around.
"It is not atypical for members of the public to find things and pick them up," she said.