Deputies detonate dynamite found in tobacco packhouse

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MIDDLESEX — Authorities safely detonated a 50-pound box of dynamite discovered in an old tobacco packhouse Thursday. No one was injured and no property damage was reported.

Capt. Eddie Moore of the Nash County Sheriff’s Office said Everette Strickland called deputies Thursday morning after finding the dynamite in a packhouse on his vacant property off N.C. 231 South near Middlesex.

Moore said officials determined that the dynamite had begun to crystallize, a process that causes the dynamite to become unstable. It was safely moved from the packhouse to an open field on the property.

“It is believed that the dynamite has been in the packhouse since possibly the 1930s, as Mr. Strickland states that he remembers his grandfather using the dynamite to blow up tree stumps when he was just a boy,” Moore said in a news release.

The State Bureau of Investigation bomb squad and a Fort Bragg-based U.S. Army explosive ordnance demolition unit responded to assist Nash County deputies with removal and detonation of the dynamite.

No homes were evacuated because the packhouse did not have any immediate neighbors, but authorities closed a portion of N.C. 231 for several hours due to the property’s proximity to the road. Moore said Nash-Rocky Mount Public Schools was notified of the detour and rerouted school buses dropping off children in the area at the end of the school day.

Strickland, who owns the packhouse, now lives in Raleigh and told deputies the property has been vacant since the early 1980s.