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Dozens of homes in Deerfield Township were evacuated after firefighters found more than 50 pounds of dynamite in the basement of a residence Tuesday afternoon. Photo: Amy Wadas, 9 On Your Side
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Officials: 50 pounds of dynamite found in Deerfield Township home

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DEERFIELD TOWNSHIP, Ohio -- Dozens of homes in Deerfield Township were evacuated after firefighters found more than 50 pounds of dynamite inside a residence Tuesday afternoon.

At about 2:20 p.m., firefighters received a complaint from a neighbor about a backyard fire at a home in the 9700 block of Columbia Road.

When crews arrived they found the owner of the home was burning brush in the backyard. The owner then told officials he found dynamite in the basement and didn't know how to get rid of it.

Firefighters discovered more than 50 pounds of dynamite inside the structure that belonged to the home's former owner who had passed away.

"It was stored in the basement on a shelf and he had used that for land clearing and using stumps and things on a farm," said Batalion Chief Doug Wehmeyer.

The Cincinnati Bomb Squad was called to the scene to assist with the removal of the dynamite. Thirty-four people from 13 homes in the neighborhood were evacuated and part of Columbia Road was temporarily shut down.

Wehmeyer said a hole was dug in the yard while crews buried the dynamite with diesel fuel and burned it before covering it back up with dirt.

"We have safely removed the product from the home. There was 50 pounds of dynamite, 25 pounds of it had crystallized which made it even more unstable for us. That product was soaked in gasoline to make sure it saturated and burned thoroughly," said Wehmeyer.

The flames burned for more than an hour and a half while smoke billowed high in the sky.

Neighbor Tina Birkley, who lives directly behind the residence, watched the entire event unfold. She was home with her dogs when firefighters told her to evacuate. "I thought better over here than in the house... so be safe," she said.

Wehmeyer said the owner of the home wasn't aware of the dynamite until Tuesday.

"It's been there for a long time, he didn't even know it was there. I wouldn't want to live in that house, but he didn't know it was there."

Wehmeyer said it was the fourth time he's dealt with dynamite in the 12 years he's worked in Deerfield Township.

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