Hazardous materials found at foreclosed home in Oceanside - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

Hazardous materials found at foreclosed home in Oceanside

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OCEANSIDE (CNS) - A major hazardous material clean-up was under way Friday in Oceanside, where several dangerous chemicals used for pest control were found left behind a recently foreclosed home.

The fire department was called to the single-family residence at 1428 San Simeon St. late Thursday morning, according to Oceanside fire Battalion Chief Pete Lawrence.

A woman who was moving out told firefighters that her husband had worked with chemicals for many years and had owned a company buying and selling hazardous materials and making devices to kill gophers, Lawrence said. These devices included toxic smoke producing powder, along with bombs that detonate inside gopher burrows.

The woman's husband died of gastrointestinal cancer in 2008, leaving the material behind in four storage buildings that had been built in the couple's backyard, Lawrence said, adding that numerous containers were also found outside the buildings, hidden by weeds.

Also, there was a 3-foot-wide, 3-foot-deep underground storage area found with several containers of unidentified liquids, he said.

Representatives from the county's health department and hazardous material teams from San Diego Fire-Rescue Department and Camp Pendleton's fire department were called to the scene, along with members of the sheriff's department's arson and bomb squad.

Twelve hazardous material technicians worked for more than five hours to locate and identify all the material. They sorted through some labeled containers and many unmarked bottles, drums, bags and boxes, according to Lawrence.

By nightfall, about 2,000 pounds of aluminum powder was removed from the site, he said, adding that a clean-up company had been assigned to begin removing the remaining hazardous materials today. In the meantime, an Oceanside police officer remained at the house to provide security.

By Saturday, all the hazardous waste was expected to be hauled away.

Beginning next week, city of Oceanside and county officials were expected to begin work on an environmental testing plan to ensure no contaminated soil or other hazardous materials were left behind.

Lawrence said because of the amount of dangerous chemicals found, the state of California was notified of the incident and state and federal funds will be used to cover clean up costs.

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