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Old suspected explosive railroad devices removed

WALSENBURG — Pueblo Police Bomb Squad Officers identified and removed some potentially hazardous items from the backyard at 209 E. 9th St. early Thurs., afternoon Oct 23. Four homes located east of the intersection of E. 9th St., and Russell Ave. were evacuated for a short time while the items were removed from the property. A box that had been with other materials taken from a home undergoing cleaning at 4th and Russell Street by Walsenburg resident Frank Gilbert was found to contain items believed to be railroad torpedos. Gilbert notified police and firefighters who responded to the 9th Street location during the noon hour. The items were removed for destruction at a location in Pueblo and the evacuation of the four homes in the 200 block of E. 9th, and the Spanish Peaks Mental Health facility, was lifted after about one hour. After the items were removed, the investigators shifted their focus to the home and outbuildings at the residence on 4th and Russell to ensure no more dangerous items were at that location. No other dangerous

items were reported found at that location. At this time there has not been official confirmation the items in the cardboard box were railroad torpedos. There were no injuries during the incident. A railway detonator (torpedo) is a small coin-size device that is used to make a loud sound as a warning signal to train drivers. It is placed on the top of the rail, usually secured with two lead straps, one on each side. Typical uses of detonators include: a warning, caution or stop signal in dense fog, when signals are difficult to see; a warning of a train stopped on the line ahead by an incident or accident — the train crew are usually responsible for placing the detonators; a warning of ongoing engineering works ahead; or when a signaller or other railway employee requires to stop approaching trains in an emergency or to alert crews working on the rails if a silent, runaway train or train carriage is approaching. As with all explosives, detonators can become unstable after a period of time and must therefore be replaced regularly. They are triggered by pressure rather than impact. This makes them safe during transport, as they normally cannot detonate in a bag or storage container. Walsenburg Police Chief Tommie McLallen said this week the items were described by the explosive experts as being ‘very old’.