A large amount of abandoned explosives were discovered Monday afternoon in a structure 1.5 miles north of Great Bend near U.S. 281, Sheriff Brian Bellendir said. Experts safely removed or destroyed more than 80 pounds of material on Tuesday.
The Barton County Sheriff’s Office was notified of the possibility of abandon explosives at 4:45 p.m. According to a statement issued on Tuesday, Bellendir and deputies responded to the scene and discovered what appeared to be a large quantity of abandon commercial explosives.
It appeared the explosives were oil-field related and had been unattended for a considerable period of time. The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms was notified and it was decided to allow the explosives to remain overnight.
“After we talked to ATF agents, it was determined that it would be safe to leave the explosives in place until the following day when we had some daylight to see exactly what we were dealing with. They were in a very rural area and no one was in danger,” Bellendir said.
On the Tuesday morning at about 9:45 a.m., agents from the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms as well as the Wichita Police Department Bomb Squad arrived in Barton County to assist with the removal and destruction of the items.
Approximately 40 shaped charges were located in a dilapidated building as well as several hundred blasting caps and a considerable quantity of detonation cord.
“It was the opinion of the explosives experts the debt cord and blasting cap should be destroyed on-site,” Bellendir said. “These items were placed in the hole with an explosive charge and destroyed.
The remaining shaped charges were securely transported to Sedgwick County where the bomb unit has a range capable of handling larger amounts of explosives.
“It is believed the explosives were left over from a defunct oil-field logging and perforating business. The owners of that business are now deceased, causing the material to become abandoned,” Bellendir said.