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December 21, 2005
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LA police find dynamite cache following standoff; highway closed while explosives burned

The Associated Press

A cache of roughly 50 pounds of dynamite was found in a warehouse following a standoff, and authorities set it afire after determining it was too dangerous to move.

Television coverage showed bright orange flames and a thick plume of smoke erupting through the building's roof shortly before 6:30 a.m., and the structure was fully engulfed minutes later.

"There's always a chance of explosion, and that's why we're taking the precautions we're taking at this time," Fire Department Captain Lou Routoli said earlier.

About 150 firefighters were at the scene and approximately 50 people were evacuated from the surrounding area, Routoli said.

Police believe the location was being used to house stolen goods and that the dynamite was not connected to terrorism, Police Lt. Paul Vernon said.

The California Highway Patrol, at the request of the LAPD, was preparing to close a section of Interstate 405 for up to 90 minutes during the morning rush hour. The freeway is one of the main links between Los Angeles and cities to the north.

Commuter trains from Ventura to Los Angeles would not run during the operations, Metrolink officials said.

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