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DHR - SAFETY ALERT MEMO 02-04

DATE: September 23, 2002

INCIDENT TYPE: Explosive device in rest room. (No Caltrans employees were involved in this incident.)

LOCATION: Turlock, CA (District 10)

TYPE OF WORK ACTIVITY: Cleaning restroom

THE ACCIDENT: The following is a story from the Modesto Bee on September 18, 2002:

TURLOCK -- A bomb in a black metal flashlight exploded Tuesday morning in a portable restroom at Pedretti Park seriously injuring a city maintenance worker. "It appears that the worker picked it up and was looking at it when it detonated," police spokeswoman Rosemary Howser said, We don't know what triggered the explosion." Authorities identified the injured worker as 19-year-old Brian Moore of Denair. He underwent surgery, and a hospital spokeswoman said Moore was listed in fair condition with injuries to both legs and to his right hand. Howser said police checked all other restrooms at city parks and found nothing. "We suspect this is an isolated incident," she said. Police said they had no suspects in the bombing, nor did they know how or why the bomb ended up in the rest room. Pedretti Park is on the west side of Highway 99, between West Monte Vista Avenue and Tuolumne Road.

Moore, a part-time city employee, and a co-worker had gone to the park to clean it. The co-worker called in the explosion shortly after 9 a.m.

Police cordoned off the park and closed all the restrooms at every city park. "Every bathroom was checked for explosive devices, and they were all cleared," Howser said.

Another precaution involved locking down New Life Christian Center. The church is just south of Pedretti Park, and the bomb went off at the north edge of the park, about a quarter-mile away. Bible study was under way, and some 30 to 40 people were inside the church at the time of the explosion. No one heard it, church secretary Kim Kemper said.

"Some just felt uneasy because for a while after the explosion, city crews blocked the driveway to the church for our safety," Kemper said.

Police and the Stanislaus County Sheriff's Department bomb squad combed the explosion site for clues and then, at about 3 p.m., the bomb squad sent a robot into the Safety Alert #02-04SH restroom. At about 4:30 p.m., investigators determined the explosion's source. Howser said investigators did not know if Moore had attempted to turn on the flashlight, which might indicate if the switch was the trigger. Investigators said they were not sure if Moore was cleaning the restroom or using it at the time of the explosion.

Howser said Moore's injuries were not considered life threatening. While the hospital gave only general information about Moore's injuries, people at the park said he lost part of his thumb and small finger, and sustained severe injuries to his groin and upper legs.

Janine Cessna, a Modesto City Schools employee who knows Moore, expressed disbelief that such a thing could happen to him. She visited him at the hospital and commented: "He is one of the nicest, sweetest, best kids I've ever known."

Susan Mendieta, spokeswoman for Modesto City Schools, said Moore participated in a jobs program through the school district and then joined a similar program run by the Turlock School Districts.

Turlock's Creative Alternatives confirmed that Moore was associated with the program, but declined to comment on the bombing. Mayor Curt Andre said: "Our first concern is that our city employee gets the best care possible and get him back to health. "The next priority is to investigate this and make sure that justice is done."

CONCLUSIONS: Even though Police believe that this is an isolated incident any suspicious objects found on state property should be reported to your supervisor or security immediately.

RECOMMENDATIONS: All employees should be reminded of the proper procedures for handling suspicious items discovered during their work. Properly identify any material or object before handling, it may be hazardous. Also review your local list of people to contact when a suspicious item is discovered. The discovery of an explosive device (or any other potentially injurious item) should be treated in much the same manner as a hazardous materials spill. For the basics of hazardous materials response always remember the acronym SIN from first responder training:

S - Think safety (first, last and always)
I -- Safely attempt to isolate and deny entry
N -- Make proper notifications and request resources

HEADQUARTERS OFFICE OF HEALTH AND SAFETY (916) 227-2640 Released 9/27/02

For individuals with disabilities, documents may be obtained in alternative formats and other assistive services are available. To obtain such services, please call (916) 227-2641. TTY users may also call: 711 or 1-800-735-2929.

 

 

HEADQUARTERS OFFICE OF HEALTH AND SAFETY SERVICES (916) 227-2640

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