Bomb squad called to LeMay’s for acid disposal

A routine household hazmat collection at LeMay Enterprises ended with the Washington State Patrol Bomb Squad incinerating an explosive chemical Jan. 16.

The substance, picric acid, was dropped off during the waste disposal company’s regular Wednesday household hazardous materials collection last Wednesday.

Paul Dionne, site manager for LeMay’s, said the chemical came with boxes of other unusual household materials.

“It was in the basement of some house, they had all sorts of antiques,” Dionne said.

Some of the chemicals were unlabeled and will require testing to identify.

“It ranged from mercury cyanide to chloroform. It was interesting stuff,” Dionne said.

The picric acid was labeled and properly stored in a glass bottle.

“It’s very volatile, if it’s stored in metal it will corrode,” he said.

Dionne noted the acid was once used in Japanese hand grenades. According to the National Institutes of Health, it was used to treat superficial burns in the early 1900s and can be found in some burn ointments.

State Patrol spokesman Trooper Russ Winger reported the bomb squad was cleared by 7:30 p.m. after incinerating the acid.

“It was a really small detonation, you could hardly see it in the dark,” Dionne said. “Those guys are phenomenal professionals.”


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