South Sioux City Fire Department

Eight residences along the 300 block of West 18th Street in South Sioux City were evacuated Saturday afternoon after the discovery of an estimated 60 pounds of explosive chemicals in the basement of a home. The items were detonated early Sunday in rural Woodbury County.

SOUTH SIOUX CITY -- A family clearing out the home of a deceased relative Saturday discovered an estimated 60 pounds of explosive chemicals and fusing, which prompted the evacuation of eight neighboring homes. 

South Sioux City Fire Chief Clint Merithew said firefighters were called to the 300 block of West 18th Street at around 2:24 p.m. Saturday, after suspicious chemicals were discovered in a basement there. 

"A family was clearing out the house (of) other family members, and they got into the basement and located some chemical compounds that they weren't too sure of," Merithew said. "There's materials that are in the basement used in making fireworks and explosives." 

Eight residences along the street were evacuated. 

The sheer quantity of explosives found in the basement was almost certainly illegal to possess, Merithew said. 

"It's been sitting for over 10 years, and it was just discovered," he said. 

Merithew said a state bomb squad from Lincoln, Nebraska, arrived on scene early Saturday evening. He told the Journal that officials from the Omaha office of the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives were also expected to arrive later that evening to examine the chemicals. 

All residents, except at the home where the explosives were discovered, were allowed to return home Saturday evening. Merithew said that by Sunday morning, the family members might be able to re-enter the home where the chemicals were originally found. 

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