Old Dynamite Detonated in Holladay, UT, House

April 26, 2024
United Fire Authority Capt. Tony Barker said five or six sticks were too unstable to move.

Residents in a Holladay neighborhood are still trying to come to grips with damage after dynamite was detonated in a nearby house.

Capt. Tony Barker with the Unified Fire Authority said the homeowner of a house called a friend to assist them with "ancient dynamite" a family member handed her.

"It wasn't anything malicious — just a call to a friend and said, 'Hey, I don't know what to do with this stuff and maybe you can come take a look,'" Barker told KSL. 

After realizing the amount of dynamite within the home, the two called authorities, which caused the Around 12:20 a.m. Wednesday, authorities expanded the evacuation area to 1,500 feet in all directions.

Crews found roughly 50 sticks of dynamite in and around the property, appearing to be between 40-80 years old. 

The EPA removed most of the dynamite but found five or six unstable sticks that couldn’t be moved. They also removed about 300 containers of chemicals from Wojcik’s home, leaving only what was considered unstable.

“We had acid, bases, solvents, a bunch of ethers, which were some of the more concerning chemicals because they become shock sensitive,” said Paul Peronard, the on-scene coordinator for the EPA.

Teri Wojcik, 79, is upset about the impact on her neighbors.

“I want to apologize for the inconvenience; I mean, this was definitely not planned. It was just supposed to be the removal of these shelves full of strange-sounding names, and so I’m sorry for whatever damage they’ve had and sorry they had to be evacuated."

“I’ve been impressed with the EPA, and the bomb squad and the Holladay (City) help and traffic control,” Wojcik said. “You know, they got the neighbors safely evacuated.”

She said her husband was a retired chemist from the University of Utah and collected various chemicals at their house for experiments and projects. In final years, he was diagnosed with Alzheimer’s.

“He was (an) extreme multi-tasker; he had this project and this project, and he would do this and go over to that. He was doing all this fascinating research. It was fascinating.”


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