Fireworks blown up at landfill |

Fireworks blown up at landfill

John Gardner
Vail, CO Colorado
Kelley Cox/Post Independent/Grand Junction Hazardous Device Response Team destroyed two boxes of commercial grade mortar-style fireworks found near Interstate-70 in Rifle.

RIFLE ” “Fire in the hole … fire in the hole … fire in the hole,” yelled Doug Lucas of the Grand Junction Hazardous Device Response Team as a band of firefighters, state troopers, and sheriffs’ deputies hunkered down behind a mound of dirt at the West Garfield County Landfill.

One man pushed a button, a quick flash raced down a yellow length of detonation tube into a pit 60-feet deep. One second of silence, then … boom.

The shock wave could be felt more than 200 yards away.

“And that was just one,” said Chris Taylor of the hazardous-device team.

That single detonation was one of the 20 commercial-grade mortar-style fireworks that that man discovered while stopping to relieve himself just after 11 a.m., Tuesday, near the West Rifle exit of Interstate 70.

Rifle Fire Chief Mike Morgan said the explosives, found in two boxes, had the power of about 10 sticks of dynamite. These types of commercial fireworks are available in Colorado, but Morgan said a person would have to have a specific license to purchase such fireworks.

The Rifle fire department uses similar fireworks in its Fourth of July show, Morgan said.

“These types of fireworks are designed to go up and then explode,” Lucas said, “and we’re more concerned with what’s going to happen after it’s set off. If some of the sparks are going to come raining down elsewhere, it could be a potential fire hazard.”

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