Planned Calif. Bomb Factory Fire Causes Concern

ESCONDIDO, Calif. --

Mass evacuations, the closing of a major freeway and containment of flames are just a few of the logistics being worked out in advance of the burning of a North County house that's been called a homemade bomb factory.

Officials have been holding meetings behind closed doors as they try to organize the huge operation planned for next week. On Thursday, crews will begin cutting back trees and brush around the house on Via Scott.

The burn was planned after bomb technicians and Hazmat crews discovered homemade explosives and hazardous chemicals strewn throughout the house rented by 54-year-old George Jakubec, who according to a search warrant released Wednesday confessed to robbing three banks and trying to rob one of them twice.

Pictures taken inside the house showed clutter on every surface. Mixed in with that clutter, were grenade casings, a jar of explosives, blasting caps, and chemicals. A huge wall will be built around the entire house before firefighters light the house in fire.

"We're going to basically cause this house to become very, very hot very, very quickly and with the walls and things still up, it will literally contain it almost like a chimney and keep everything in close," said Nick Vent of San Diego County Hazmat.

The operation will be similar to one that happened two years ago in Texas City, Texas, where authorities used a controlled detonation to destroy an apartment filled with explosive materials too dangerous to be moved. Dump trucks were brought in to create a blast barrier to protect other apartments. The Texas operation was successful, since other apartments were damaged.

Experts believe the same technique will work in Escondido, and although some residents have expressed concerns about a fire being set so close to their homes, most seem to accept it.

"I think it's the best thing to do," said resident Cynthia Borneman. "I wonder why they didn't blow it up in the first place."

Since the county has declared the house a public nuisance, they do not have to reimburse the homeowner for any loss caused by the fire. Homeowner’s insurance policies should help cover the damage.

The house is scheduled to be burned down between Dec. 8 and Dec. 10.

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