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Close call with explosive material in Grants Pass

Southern Oregon Sanitation’s annual Hazardous Materials Drop-off Day could have gone off with a bang this year, Grants Pass Fire and Rescue officials said Saturday.

A one-pound container of toxic material dropped off at the sanitation center along Redwood Highway was determined to be an explosive hazard. Grants Pass 911 was contacted just before noon, and Grants Pass Fire and Rescue, Rural Metro Josephine County and Grants Police police were dispatched to the incident, according to a press release.

The Grants Pass Fire Rescue battalion chief established command upon arrival and initiated evacuations within 150 feet in all directions as a precaution, should the container explode. Engine companies waited on standby in case of a fire.

The Oregon State Fire Marshal’s HazMat Team 8 also was contacted via telephone to make sure the situation was handled properly, the release stated.

There was no release of the hazardous material, nor was there an explosion, officials said. The material was contained, secured and safely removed without further assistance from Grants Pass Fire and Rescue.

Southern Oregon Sanitation will be closed for the rest of the day while the materials are packaged for safe transport.