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  1. #1
    Forum Member stm4710's Avatar
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    Exclamation Railroad crew discovers bomb on tracks.

    Railroad crew finds small bomb under tracks
    (The Evansville Courier & Press posted the folowing article on its website on April 9.)

    FAIRFIELD, Ill. -- A Norfolk Southern Railroad maintenance crew discovered a bomb planted beneath the tracks east of Fairfield, Ill., Friday afternoon.

    "The device was about 8 inches long and was made out of 3/4-inch plastic pipe sealed on both ends," said Wayne County Sheriff Sonny McCulley.

    "The fuse had been lit, but apparently burned out with about six inches left." The device was found on the northeast side of the rail crossing, buried under one of the rails.

    The scene was at a rural crossing less than a mile east of Fairfield, just southeast of the Assembly of God Church off Illinois 15.

    McCulley notified the FBI's Domestic Terrorism Unit along with the Illinois Secretary of State Bomb Squad who examined the device before detonating it about 7 p.m. Friday.

    McCulley said the device was apparently filled with black powder and had been armed with bolts and nails.

    "It was clearly intended to be an anti-personnel device, but was powerful enough that it would have likely damaged the rails had it exploded," McCulley said.

    McCulley moved the device from beneath the rail and placed it in a nearby farm field so a backlog of freight trains could continue along the east-west route.

    The Secretary of State Bomb Squad detonated the device after clearing a 400-foot radius around the bomb. Officials then collected debris from the bomb, which included shrapnel made up of nails and bolts for further analysis.

    Anyone with information about who may have been involved in the planting of the bomb is asked to contact either the Wayne County Sheriff's Department or the Wayne County Crimestoppers Hotline at (618) 842-9777.


    Monday, April 11, 2005

    http://www.ble-t.org/pr/news/headline.asp?id=13283
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  2. #2
    Forum Member HeavyRescueTech's Avatar
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    Default Re: Railroad crew discovers bomb on tracks.

    Originally posted by stm4710
    McCulley moved the device from beneath the rail and placed it in a nearby farm field so a backlog of freight trains could continue along the east-west route.
    ok, so maybe it's just me, but am I the only one who wouldn't go anywhere near the bomb? who gives a damn about the freight train backlog, why is this sherrif risking his life moving a bomb? let the bomb squad do it.
    If my basic HazMat training has taught me nothing else, it's that if you see a glowing green monkey running away from something, follow that monkey!

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    Simply AMEN

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    why is this sherrif risking his life moving a bomb?
    So, I guess you've never met a law enforcement officer? Why do you think we call them "canaries"?

  5. #5
    Forum Member DennisTheMenace's Avatar
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    Default Re: Re: Railroad crew discovers bomb on tracks.

    Originally posted by DrParasite
    ok, so maybe it's just me, but am I the only one who wouldn't go anywhere near the bomb? who gives a damn about the freight train backlog, why is this sherrif risking his life moving a bomb? let the bomb squad do it.
    It depends on the bomb and the sherrif's department's training. If the bomb is obviously stable, there should not be any harm in moving in, particularly if it clears up a major transportation bottleneck. It should be a weighed risk against the benefit. Seems like it was not the wrong thing to do in this case.
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    MembersZone Subscriber N2DFire's Avatar
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    Default Re: Re: Re: Railroad crew discovers bomb on tracks.

    Originally posted by DennisTheMenace
    It depends on the bomb and the sherrif's department's training. If the bomb is obviously stable, there should not be any harm in moving in, particularly if it clears up a major transportation bottleneck. It should be a weighed risk against the benefit. Seems like it was not the wrong thing to do in this case.
    Sorry but I have to agree with DrP on this one.

    Now granted at the time the device was moved there were a lot of unknowns but . . .

    The device was designed to be anti-personnel so why put it under a train track - not likely to reach very many people under a train. Granted it was estimated to have enough power to damage the tracks but that was not it's primary intent.

    What if the "apparently burned out" fuse was simply glued to the case as a decoy and the real trigger was a pressure switch under the device or a motion switch?

    Fighting fire requires the proper training & PPE - so does moving & disarming bombs.

    Just because the end result was good does not make the action correct. Sometimes we all make a bad call in the heat of battle so I'll give the Sheriff the benefit of the doubt but IMHO it was a bad idea & hopefully he has seen the error of his ways.

    Edit to add - Dennis is also correct in that we do not know the Sheriff's training on this so I'll also give him the benefit of the doubt here as well that he had at least some knowledge of what he was doing.
    Last edited by N2DFire; 04-12-2005 at 03:57 PM.
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    MembersZone Subscriber ullrichk's Avatar
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    Since when does a backlog of freight trump life safety?

    If the bomb maker was attempting to damage the railroad with what was reported to be an antipersonnel IED AND he wasn't good enough for the bomb to go off after apparently having lit the fuse, do you trust the "quality" of the bomb enough to call it stabile?

    This is EOD territory. I wonder what the Sheriff was thinking?
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  8. #8
    Forum Member DennisTheMenace's Avatar
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    Originally posted by ullrichk
    Since when does a backlog of freight trump life safety?

    If the bomb maker was attempting to damage the railroad with what was reported to be an antipersonnel IED AND he wasn't good enough for the bomb to go off after apparently having lit the fuse, do you trust the "quality" of the bomb enough to call it stabile?

    This is EOD territory. I wonder what the Sheriff was thinking?
    1. it is the same as protecting property, you risk a little to help the massive economy

    2. you have no idea what EOD training and equipment the Sheriff's department might or might not have.

    3. a pipe bomb with a visably snuffed fuse is pretty darn safe to CAREFULLY transport a short distance.
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    Forum Member stm4710's Avatar
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    Originally posted by DennisTheMenace

    1. it is the same as protecting property, you risk a little to help the massive economy

    2. you have no idea what EOD training and equipment the Sheriff's department might or might not have.

    3. a pipe bomb with a visably snuffed fuse is pretty darn safe to CAREFULLY transport a short distance.
    A railroad back log is not a big deal. It happens everyday for more mundane reasons like a tree across the tracks,locomotive problems,late trains etc etc. Back the train up,secure the perimeter and let the people with the training and equipment handle it. I dont get paid enough to "pick up a bomb" and "transport it safely". Not only is it stupid and dangerous.......your also disturbing a crime scene. And always assume the same whack job is sitting in the field with a remote trigger. I doubt this person had it out for the railroad---first responders come to mind.
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  10. #10
    Senior Member Dalmatian90's Avatar
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    1. it is the same as protecting property, you risk a little to help the massive economy

    Time sensitive materials aren't shipped by train today. That's why you have Tractor Trailers that can find detours. Trains haul lots of stuff cheaply...but without the flexibility in time or routes that trucks have.

    See the list STM gave. Just another interruption among many that can occur.
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    Forum Member fireguy919's Avatar
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    Originally posted by DennisTheMenace

    1. it is the same as protecting property, you risk a little to help the massive economy

    2. you have no idea what EOD training and equipment the Sheriff's department might or might not have.

    3. a pipe bomb with a visably snuffed fuse is pretty darn safe to CAREFULLY transport a short distance.

    Pretty darn safe. Where do you think that is safe. Ask yourself this question WHAT IF? This was placed to due harm to people not the train. Why would the fuse be burned out. So someone not think would say ďIts pretty darn safe for me to moveĒ there could have a secondary device. Or worse yet that was a decoy to a bigger device. If your not trained to deal with it then donít. Let a bomb squad handle it. Who cares the train is tied up for a few hours. Better the people on scene be than taking a chance. This time was lucky. Glad this was happy ending could of been worse had the rescue works been the target.

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    Originally posted by DennisTheMenace

    1. it is the same as protecting property, you risk a little to help the massive economy

    2. you have no idea what EOD training and equipment the Sheriff's department might or might not have.

    3. a pipe bomb with a visably snuffed fuse is pretty darn safe to CAREFULLY transport a short distance.
    You really don't have the slightest idea of what you are talking about, do you?

    The backup, for a couple of hours, of freight trains in some rural area of IL is going to hurt the "massive econcmy"? No way. There is NO REASON to risk ANYTHING to move this device.

    RISK NOTHING TO SAVE NOTHING!

    If this Sheriff had hazardous device training and equipment, he would have used standard, accepted render safe procedures and disrupted the device RIGHT WHERE IT SAT! The days of manually entering a device and manually moving devices are over.

    A pipe bomb with a visibly snuffed fuse could just as easily be a ploy to lull someone with no training or experience with hazardous devices-someone like yourself-into thinking it was a dud. There are a dozen other ways to detonate a device besides a Roadrunner and Coyote Acme Bomb Co. fuse.

    My impression is that this Sheriff is going to be going to some refresher training real soon.

  13. #13
    Forum Member DennisTheMenace's Avatar
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    Carrying a gallon container of gasoline is about as dangerous as moving that pipe filled with anything the average kook can get their hands on. What do you think the bomb squad would do that you couldn't other then maybe use a robot if they were so equiped out in the middle of no where?

    It is not risking something for nothing, saving thousands of dollars in commerce is no different then saving thousands of dollars in property. It is part of our job.
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    Quote Originally Posted by nyckftbl View Post
    LOL....dont you people have anything else to do besides b*tch about our b*tching?

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    Originally posted by DennisTheMenace
    Carrying a gallon container of gasoline is about as dangerous as moving that pipe filled with anything the average kook can get their hands on. What do you think the bomb squad would do that you couldn't other then maybe use a robot if they were so equiped out in the middle of no where?

    It is not risking something for nothing, saving thousands of dollars in commerce is no different then saving thousands of dollars in property. It is part of our job.
    What would they do different? How about X-ray it and then use a PAN Disrupter and disrupt the device as it lies on the tracks? A PAN disrupter is essentially a canon that fires a water charge that is aimed between the charge and the initiator. It prevents the device from firing.

    Tell me, oh Great Bomb Tech, how would you tell, by looking at the device, if there was a mercury switch inside the device that is used as an initiator? How would you tell, by looking at the device, if there was a trip switch under the device that would arm it if it was moved? Simple answer? YOU COULDN'T!

    Screw "thousands of dollars in commerce"! (It wasn't). This was a matter of a few hours. There wold have been more of a delay if a tree fell down across the tracks.

    It is very important that every FF reading this remember: If you think it is a bomb, it is a bomb. Don't touch it, don't move it. Evac your personnel and any other persons in the area to at least 1000 feet behind cover. If you can see the bomb, the bomb can see you. Also remember that an explosive device is ALWAYS a crime scene.

    Do not listen to the reckless, ignorant and foolhardy advice of Dennis The Menace.

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    Forum Member fireguy919's Avatar
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    That is just the problem. You are using bad judgement. Itís just a pipe bomb. How do you know that is the only thing there. Commercial profits mean nothing compared to LIFE. At that time there is NO WAY the sheriff knew that was only a pipe bomb. Look at what happened in Spain not all that long ago. So now your saying move the ďpipe bombĒ if that is what it is and send the train on its way to a bigger device. You need to quite think it only. You never know what is going to be there. Itís never going to happen to me is the what gets a lot of us in the LODDís. How can you compare a gallon of gas to a pipe bomb with bolts and nails in it. Gas a liquid is not flammable itís the vapors.

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    Senior Member Dalmatian90's Avatar
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    It is not risking something for nothing, saving thousands of dollars in commerce is no different then saving thousands of dollars in property. It is part of our job.

    There may be a point where you got to that if someone was placing fake bombs in many places. An isolated incident doesn't meet the test of a risk-benefit anaylsis.

    "Thousands of dollars in commerce" -- baloney on this one. So the railroads were paying guys to wait. So the railroads were burning some fuel in idling trains. None of that is going to make a real affect on the company -- that railroad probably lost more in productivity that day by employees company-wide going the bathroom during the workday then they did with the train crews sitting for the obstruction to clear.

    The "losing money sitting in traffic" arguements only start to have real affects when they're widespread and long duration. Isolated problems like this are just a normal cost of doing business.

    Put this in the same category of moving a power line. You might be familiar with your area and that the re-closers (breakers) always open on this circuit when a wire falls. Doesn't mean you go and move the wire just to re-open the road. You wait for the people with the proper tools to do so just in case that line is live this time.
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  17. #17
    Senior Member Dalmatian90's Avatar
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    Gas a liquid is not flammable itís the vapors

    Dude, you were doing so good. Gasoline is a flammable liquid. End of discussion, there is no debate on that point.

    http://www.nfpa.org/faq.asp?category...5Ftest=1#22901

    You're getting confused on terms. Flammable means the substance has a flash point below 100 degrees F. It's the vapors that burn, but the reason Gasoline as a liquid is flammable is that it so readily produces vapors at normal atmospheric conditions.
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    Soo was timothy mcveigh an above average kook? anybody with some time and a computer can find a way to make bombs out of toothpaste and belly button lint. there are some really creative whackos out there.
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    Originally posted by boomwak
    Soo was timothy mcveigh an above average kook? anybody with some time and a computer can find a way to make bombs out of toothpaste and belly button lint. there are some really creative whackos out there.
    He was a terrorist. That is the point of this. A terrorist is not simply a Middle Eastern male. There are a myriad of causes out there that people will do desperate things to support. You have to see the big picture.

    Seeing the big picture would have told the Sheriff to leave the pipe bomb where it was and let the experts handle it.

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    Dalmatian90 thanks for the link. I stand corrected. Got trapped think about the vapors.

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