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Bomb technicians get explosive training

By Sarah Dallof | Posted - Jun. 22, 2010 at 10:23 p.m.



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CAMP WILLIAMS--Explosions rocked Camp Williams Tuesday afternoon as part of an impressive training display. It was part of a three-day-long class for state and local bomb technicians and those who investigate post blast. The lessons they were teaching can't really be learned in a classroom.

It's a seemingly impossible job: take an explosion and rewind it to find out what explosives were used, what type of detonator was used, and who did it.

Carolyn Reck, explosives enforcement officer of the Bureau of Alcohol Tobacco and Firearms (ATF), said, "The products we're using today are commercially available. They're used within the blasting industry."

Experts from the ATF handle 99.9 percent of bombings in America.

Craig Roegner, ATF special agent, said, "Over the course of the past five years there's been more than 2,300 bombing incidences or attempted incidences."

Instructors used a handful of explosives in the dozen explosions, from the small blasting caps often used legitimately at construction sites, to a half pound of C4 -- an explosive often referred to in big blast Hollywood movies.

Investigators look at smoke color, blast patterns and shrapnel. Like most criminals, ATF agents say bombers have "signatures" that can help officials identify them and, hopefully, make an arrest.

ATF Special Agent and certified fire investigator Chris Forkner said, "We as public servants owe it to them to do a thorough investigation and bring people to justice."

According to the ATF, law enforcement comes into contact with explosives more often than the public realizes. They're found at crimes ranging from vandalism to murder-for-hires.

E-mail: sdallof@ksl.com

Sarah Dallof

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