LAUDERHILL (CBSMiami) – The all clear has been given to Lauderhill Fire Station Number 57 after it had to be evacuated Tuesday afternoon due to an explosive concern.
Lauderhill police say a 71-year-old woman was cleaning out the garage at a home she owns in Davie when she found some chemicals that belonged to her deceased husband who was a Vietnam veteran.
She wanted to get rid of them so she brought them to Lauderhill Fire Department headquarters on NW 56 Avenue.
Once investigators figured out what they were, it set off a massive scramble to isolate the chemicals and protect everyone nearby.
Video from Chopper4 showed intense focus on an orange bucket with containers inside with chemicals that when combined could create a major explosion.
Police moved media, residents and onlookers several blocks away.
“This is the blast radius they gave us,” an officer said. “I need you to move back to 55th Avenue.”
A wall of fire trucks and rescue vehicles blocked a nearby intersection and officers re-routed tons of traffic. It caused worry for some.
“That’s a little scary,” said a re-routed driver.
And annoyance for others.
“We been stuck over here for the past hour and 30 minutes because we can’t get home,” said a woman unable to get to her house.
Everyone evacuated the fire department and students and teachers in an elementary school went on lockdown.
“I was scared because I was like, ‘Oh, no, there’s a bomb!’ said Aiden, a 4th grader.
The Broward Sheriff’s office bomb squad sent in their robot to investigate. The robot carefully removed each of the chemicals — magnesium shavings, potassium powder and liquid glycerin. The materials were taken by the bomb squad and disposed of.
“The types of materials she was transporting she was very fortunate that they didn’t mix,” said Lauderhill Assistant Fire Chief Jeff Levy.
Levy said the 71-year old-woman who brought the bucket to Lauderhill Fire headquarters drove to three other fire stations Tuesday before finding one with people inside. The other stations were likely on emergency calls at the time, he said.
Levy said by themselves the chemicals are not dangerous but when combined could create a large fire or explosion. He said the woman simply wanted to dispose of the items then found herself being questioned by the FBI.
“When the cavalry came out and the hazardous materials team came out, the BSO bomb squad came out and the FBI came out, she was a little shocked,” Levy said.
Levy said the woman did nothing wrong but he wants people to know there’s a better way to get rid of potentially dangerous chemicals.
“Instead of transporting them around in your car, unsure of how to dispose of them, call somebody and we’ll make sure they’re safe before they can be disposed of,” Levy said.
Lauderhill investigators said the bomb squad went to the woman’s homes in Davie Tuesday evening to make sure there were no more chemicals there that might be dangerous but they didn’t find anything that needed to be disposed of.