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Emergency crews needing to adjust following Redding explosion

Published On: Feb 09 2014 08:27:30 PM CST
Updated On: Feb 09 2014 08:29:11 PM CST
REDDING, Calif. -

The local state of emergency remains in effect in Shasta County after it was declared Friday.

A neighborhood is still in a 'dangerous and volatile' condition after an explosion Thursday afternoon at a home on Chaparral Drive in Redding. The man who lives there, D. Ray East, 63, lost most of his hand and suffered serious blast injuries.

“We knew that maybe something was going on,” said neighbor Bob Belongie. “We were suspecting maybe some drug activity. Nothing certainly of this magnitude."

Dozens were forced to evacuate the neighborhood, and the emergency crews are needing to adjust.

An evacuation order Friday meant dozens would be searching for shelter. A 1,000 foot radius surrounding the home is the designated danger zone.

"There were 28 homes evacuated. We usually figure about 15 percent of people evacuated actually show up and we've seen that here," said American Red Cross Disaster Program Manager Eric Kiltz.

However, American Red Cross volunteers told KRCR News Channel 7 Sunday it is likely many in the designated zone stayed in their homes.

During a news conference Saturday, Shasta County Sheriff Tom Bosenko urged people to get out of the area, using September's deadly Clover Fire as an example.

“There are people who refused to leave,” said Bosenko. “This is for safety reasons. It's not uncommon for people to refuse to evacuate, but last year a person refusing to evacuate his home, due to a wildfire, lost his life when the RV he was living in was consumed by the fire."

The body of Brian Henry, 55, was found in a motor home on a property on Coal Pit Road in Igo, inside the fire perimeter.

The American Red Cross will have to search for alternatives. They are currently set up at Manzanita Elementary School in Redding. The students are off Monday but back on Tuesday, which means the deadline to find a new shelter location is Monday night.

"We're prepared to shelter for short-term or long-term or whatever it needs to be,” said Kiltz.

Bosenko said a bomb tech observed the most explosives he's ever seen inside a single home at the site of this explosion.

This incident is being compared to a similar event that happened in Southern California.

"San Diego County used it some time ago, but they may have to actually destroy the home,” said Bosenko.

In that case from Dec. 2010, only eight pounds of explosive materials were found.

On Saturday, Bosenko announced that Shasta County investigators found at least 40 pounds of explosives and explosive precursor materials, some of which are sensitive to heat, impact, or friction. A bomb tech told him if the home were to detonate, the explosion would be "large," though it's too early to say how big.

“I've reached out to San Diego County and their staff for any information that they had in handling that incident, to assist us in handling this incident,” Bosenko said.

Authorities intentionally set the house on fire in Escondido in San Diego County. The home was filled with homemade explosives. In that situation, just like this one, the home was too dangerous to enter and neighboring homes were evacuated.

15 foot blast walls were erected around the site. Almost the entire home was destroyed in about 30 minutes, without any major problems.