SAFER Monthly Meeting Minutes - December 2016

SAFER Meeting Minutes

December 16, 2016

SAFER Board Attendees:   Pres Fortman, VP Weise, Seely, Quinn,

Santa Fe Springs Fire Department

 Santa Fe Springs Fire Headquarters   

1010    Meeting called to order – D/C Hayward welcomed SAFER and opened the meeting,. Thanks to Santa Fe Springs Fire Department for use of the facility and Ruth with Santa Fe Springs FDfor morning brunch and coffee.

1015    VP Dick Weise opened the SAFER meeting and led  the flag salute and moment of silence to remember our fallen brothers and sisters in the fire, police and military.

SAFER email :, twitter, facebook etc.


  • Program: “Burn It Down”- Bomb Factory House

Presenter: Nick Vent – San Diego County Haz-Mat (Retired)

 HazMat and Safety Training

Introduced a 2 –Day course that will be offered through DOT in March, 2017 in the LA Area. Flyer to be forwarded to list via email.

Escondido California 1954 Scott

Gardener stepped on a stone while clearing brush which exploded, injuring him. Medics responded and assessed the victim (one was a HazMat FF) and treated the victim. The FD responded PD who took the scene over as a crime scene.

On scene FD turned their radio to all-call and stated “may-day, may-day we need PD assistance” which caused a mass response from all resources in the area.

The issue of jurisdiction arose:

  • San Diego Sheriff

  • Escondido PD

  • San Marcos Fire

  • County Haz-Mat

6 Mason Jars of unknown material were located – found to be 98% pure organic peroxide (HMTD – Hexamethylene Tri-Peroxide Diamine-). Jars had signs of rust on the jars.

Fusion Center found the tenant was a naturalized US citizen of Russian origin. His wife was still a Russian citizen. Had made numerous trips to Mexico in the prior month and had purchased commercial Castor Beans for unknown purposes. Pack-Rat conditions revealed numerous materials that are pre-curses for HMTD.  

5# HMTD was the chemical – explosive used in the London bus bombing.


  • Citric Acid (Vitamin C)

  • Hexamine (Sterno)

  • Hydrogen Peroxide – Commercially / Consumer

  • Methyl / Ethyl Alcohol

Dissolve Haxamine



DEH HazMat was responded by SD Co Sheriffs Bomb squad as they left their station as “Tec-Refs”

Objective: to render SAFE the 6 mason jars of HMTD

Video of the individual jars was shown to demonstrate the relative power of the material (HMTD)

Several methods to accomplish this was studied by FBI Bomb experts and HazMat staff. One problem was the remaining HMTD in the soil. The suspect had been dumping his waste in the gravel behind the house. They decided to make a mixture of 5% Sodium Hydroxide and XXX to reduce the Ph


9th Civil Support Team out of Los Alamitos was able to respond and provide assistance to the incident.

DTRA – Defence Threat Reductiion Agency, Fed State EPA and Lawrence Livermore Laboratory.

DEH pursued mapping and plume predictions.

Bomb Squad utilized Ahura RMX was used to run samples in the backyard

Interview with suspect”George” :

  • No radiation

  • No Ricin, Castor Beans only

  • HMTP referred to as “Puffer Powder”

  • Hydrogen Peroxide

  • Sulfuric Acid

  • Hydrogen Cyanide

  • Bulk Lead

  • Fragmentation (Pineapple) grenade molds

  • Precursors for Nitro-Glycerin

  • Quantities of PETN

  • Whole hand grenades

  • Lab gear used to do chemistry

  • Equipment to increase potency of various chemicals.

  • Bulk ammunition of various calibers

  • “Dye Packs” with $$ attached from multiple bank robberies in the San Diego area.

  • 50 garage door openers

  • Christmas “ornaments”

  • Door-Bell was wired to a switch

  • Camo material

  • Ammo Boxes full of all kinds of bomb making materials

  • Home-made Blasting caps, made from shell casings with light bulb filaments imbedded in HMTD. Tested by Bomb Tec’s – all worked

  • Home-Made Thermite in jars

  • 14# of finished HMTD

  • Tracking Devices (from Bank robberies)

  • Police Uniform

  • Various disguises


Damage to the residence was noted from numerous accidental explosions which occurred as the suspect made various bomb types.

Finding the scene to be so un-safe to continue, Command stopped work and regrouped to determine the safest method of mitigating the hazard. A meeting of all stake holders found some opposition but after fully explaining the rational, finally agreed to the tactic. IAP’s, media notification, necessary evacuations were planned. All accessible evidence was collected to remove as many toxics from the down-stream plume. 

They decided to burn the house and all contents  

60 Agencies involved: Local, County, State, Federal as limited military as Technical Reference sources.

Video of Jan Caldwell (PIO for SD Sheriffs Dept) was shown. She explained various questions by the media which helped to ease certain concerns of the public. A “Town-Hall” meeting was held.

A Local Declaration of Emergency was issued; State Agencies were tapped to assist in the clean-up and financial issues.

A “Fire Wall” was built to protect adjacent properties. ($20,000)

Used a Web Page to provide info to public

Air Monitoring strategy was developed to document the environment during and after the planned fire out to 2 miles. (Model showed the plume to stay within 75’ of the property). Heat measurement was used to insure the heat level was reached that would destroy the chemicals on site. Smoke went 2600’ straight up during the fire.

HazMat Incinerators run at 1900 degrees, the interior temp of the house was 2600 degrees. A Burn Plan was used to burn the chemicals stored in the living areas then expose and spread into the bedrooms.


Numerous chemicals were targeted for monitoring, including radiological isotopes.

Property Owner was offered $100,000 by the county. She refused and

George Jakubek was given 30 years for the bank robberies

He admitted making exposives


Next Meeting in LACoFD



Vender’s, Manufacture’s and Consultants represented at this meeting:

AllStar and Curtis and Plymovent


Meeting Attendees (Sign-ins)

Agency / Co                                         NAME PHONE #                                             EMAIL (s)

Downey Fire (Retired)                                    Chuck Seely     (949) 492-7993 

Downey Fire                                        Peter Browne(562) 243-3393 

PLYMOVENT/AIR EXCHANGE             JIM CLEAERY   909-720-7064  

SD County HIRT - Retired                    Nick Vent         619-778-9500  

LAFD                                                    Ellsworth Fortman 661-645-1810

CURTIS                                                            Scott Marshall 626-840-7589  

Los Angeles County Fire                      Dick Weise      951 807-1914    

Los Angeles County Fire                      Chris Marangakis (562) 553-2619

Fillmore City Fire                                Keith Gurrola805-558-0932  

Ventura Co, Fire                                  Robert Szczepanek 805-914-4021