Police Chief Rod Mendoza tells Parker Live that the buildings at the center of drama yesterday – razed by fire departments after the discovery of old dynamite inside – were historical buildings from Poston Internment Camp, a U.S. camp for the Japanese during World War II.
It was originally thought that the dynamite was found at Alewine Furniture Store, but it turned out to be a row of buildings (pictured) next to the store on the same property parcel. The old furniture store remains intact.
Mendoza says the building was destroyed by fire last night in order to burn the dynamite in place, due to the dynamite being judged too unstable to move. The building was the old ‘Mess Hall’ or ‘Chow Hall’ from the Internment Camp.
He said the speculation is that the family did some of the construction on Highway 95 toward Lake Havasu City and would have used the dynamite during the process. While previously reported that the dynamite was manufactured in 1990, making it around 21 years old, it is now being reported that the dynamite had an expiration date of 1990, making it much older.
The entire incident lasted for over 10 hours. Mendoza complimented the community of Parker, saying that they responded appropriately and were very courteous to law enforcement. The evacuation was expanded after it was discovered the dynamite could not be moved and would need incinerated, posing a greater risk to the surrounding area, and Mendoza says everybody evacuated voluntarily and stayed behind police lines.
The recovered blasting caps were destroyed by explosion in the open desert by some fire personnel.