TWO explosions, which shook the southern side of Collie early last Thursday, July 12, were controlled blasts carried out by the police bomb squad.
The squad had been called to Collie after a Department of Environment and Conservation (DEC) employee found chemicals in the bush.
“They were thought to be relatively harmless, acid-type chemicals,” said a DEC spokesman.
“He brought them in from the field, in the back of his ute, but then it was found that one of the chemicals, picric acid, was highly volatile.”
DEC officers put the picric acid in a storage container then rang for disposal advice.
They were told old forms of the substance could dry out and become highly volatile and explosive.
Local police called in the bomb squad, who travelled from Perth overnight and carried out controlled explosions in the DEC yard.
“They dug a hole for the chemicals and did a controlled explosion with a mechanical device,” the DEC officer said.
“It was a police matter and only one DEC officer was on-site.”
The chemicals had been brought in at about “knock-off” time yesterday and the buildings were evacuated when the risk was known.
The explosives experts were called in by Sgt Gary Mason, of the Collie Police Station.
Despite this another police officer told the Collie Mail that police could not comment as they were still “making inquiries”.
Residents all over Collie heard the explosions. Many rang the Collie Mail asking for information and others posted queries and comments on Facebook.
People from Atkinson, Venn, Prinsep streets, Gladstone Crescent, and as far north as Hargreaves and Archer Streets and west to Allanson heard the blast.
A woman, who did not wish to be named, said she heard a loud explosion at her Prinsep Street home.
“It was like when a transformer on a power line blows. Kind of like that, but a lot louder,” she said.
Laurel Dhu also heard the blasts at her home in Ogden Street. “It was scary to be woken up like that,” she said. “I thought Worsley had blown up.”
Erin Ridge, who lives in Wellington Heights, said she heard two explosions.
The second might have been 20 minutes after the first one.
Cheryl Dye, who was working at Vikki May’s deli at the time also heard the explosions.
She said customers from the north side of Collie also claimed to have heard the bangs.