The December 9 burning of an Escondido house used to make bombs is history. So is the cleanup.
With toxic contamination possible within the ashes that resulted from the dramatic San Diego County house burning televised around the world, a DTSC Emergency Response Program team quickly swung into action. A DTSC team of three scientists and an industrial hygienist moved onto the site Sunday, December 12, to supervise the cleanup alongside the San Diego County Department of Environmental Health. Staffers completed the cleanup Wednesday, December 15.
On scene, the team oversaw removal of ash and debris from the burned house and its shipment to the Otay Landfill in Chula Vista. DTSC emergency response staffers collected pieces of floor tile and other debris containing asbestos for transfer to a hazardous waste facility in Arizona.
DTSC also collected soil samples from the site and sent them to a Los Angeles laboratory. Analysis is expected to be complete by December 22.
“We want to be sure there’s no residual metal contamination that would endanger public health,” said Emergency Response Program Supervisor Adam Palmer. “If there is we’d remove additional soil material.”
DTSC’s goal is to ensure the site is cleaned to stringent standards and the property made safe for the owner to return and rebuild.
The San Diego County Sheriff’s Department burned the house occupied by renter George Djura Jakubec, who is charged with bomb-making and bank robbery. Authorities found an unprecedented amount of grenades, explosives and bomb-making material in the house, and called it the largest collection of such chemicals in a single location in U.S. history.