The San Mateo County sheriff's bomb squad Wednesday evening caused an explosion in order to render safe some highly unstable material stored in someone's home, a police sergeant told Patch.
The materials were discovered by a resident in a home in the 400 block of Parrott Drive about 4:30 p.m., according to San Mateo police Sgt. David Norris.
Firefighters called to the scene determined the materials -- they had been stored for quite some time -- had become highly unstable and dangerous even to move, the sergeant told Patch.
Firefighters and bomb squad personnel moved the material a short distance from the home and created a buffer zone in preparation for a big explosion, the sergeant told Patch.
Shortly after 8 p.m., police alerted residents in the 400 block of Parrott Drive that disposing of the materials would require detonation and there would be a loud explosion.
Officers also had residents in the block behind Parrott Drive leave their homes, Norris said.
Residents in other homes were told to seek safe places to shelter themselves and the department's 13,000 Twitter followers and email alert subscribers were warned that an explosion was imminent, the sergeant said.
"It was a big explosion," Norris told Patch, but there was minimal damage to the surrounding area and no damage to homes.
Police released the following safety tips to the public:
- If you notice something out of place that you can't readily identify-a suspicious object, odor, spilled or leaking liquid or powder, etc.- it's best to treat it as a hazardous substance until proven otherwise.
- In the case of a suspicious object, powder, or liquid - Do not disturb it, touch it, or sniff it; do not smoke or strike a light near it, and extinguish any open flames nearby.
- Turn off electrical equipment near it (especially fans) Secure or block off the area around it. Keep others away until Public Safety Authorities arrive.