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Command center kept at safe distance from incinerated property

Published On: Feb 16 2014 08:15:43 PM CST
Updated On: Feb 16 2014 09:55:35 PM CST
REDDING, Calif. -

A property west of Redding was incinerated Sunday, but the control center for that burn came from a safe distance.

Crews set up at Benton Airpark in Redding. Multiple mobile units of allied agency personnel were on hand to ensure a smooth process.

“We did remote start the fire, obviously to protect the personnel from any potential explosions,” said Shasta County Sheriff’s Lieutenant Dave Kent. “Everything went according to plan.”

The incident command center was placed roughly four miles from the dangerous property.

The situation began Thursday, Feb. 6 when the homeowner D. Ray East, 64, blew most of his hand off in an explosion. The Shasta County Sheriff's Office responded and determined the materials on the property were too volatile to move.

Shasta County Sheriff Tom Bosenko said they had found more than 60 pounds of explosive materials at the site.

Allied agency personnel including firefighters, law enforcement, haz-mat, paramedics, public health air quality, and weather monitoring experts were staged in the area and keeping watch of the situation. The California Highway Patrol fixed-wing aircraft gave them a view from the sky.

"Mainly it's just monitoring and making sure that all the divisions that were participating in this event - to make sure that they had a good communication and that everybody was in their station and ready," said Kent.

What was expected to be a 10:00 a.m. incineration of the property Sunday was delayed more than an hour and a half until 11:45 a.m.

"Mainly, it was the weather,” said Kent. “We were really looking at the wind as a factor, as well as how clear the day was."

Crews were ready for a worst case scenario.

“We thought with the amount of explosions - or at least the explosives that were in the house and other chemicals - that the potential was that this house could've had a large explosion and sent out debris and cause of the collateral damage," Kent said.

They are still evaluating the site, but officials are expecting minimal problems and are carefully looking through what is left.

"It'll take a little time, and obviously we still think about safety,” said Kent. “That's most important."

According to the Shasta County Sheriff’s Office the evacuation area will remain at 2,000 ft. surrounding the property at 9021 Chaparral Dr. throughout Sunday night.