STOCKTON, Calif. – A neighborhood in Northern California was evacuated Thursday after first responders found a treasure trove of military ordnance inside the residence of a 70-year-old man who died of apparent natural causes.
Investigators in Stockton didn’t immediately know how the man came to possess the devices, FOX 40 reported.
Following the discovery by Stockton police and paramedics around 9:10 a.m., a police bomb squad and personnel from nearby Travis Air Force Base responded to the scene, the station reported.
“They just left about an hour ago just because of how many types of devices are still in the home, they had to go back and get additional personnel,” Stockton police Officer Joe Silva told FOX 40.
Neighbors evacuated after officers find military explosives in Stockton home https://t.co/YEVxV43t87
— FOX40 News (@FOX40) January 24, 2020
Stockton police evacuated about 20 surrounding homes. The temporarily displaced residents were provided access to a Red Cross shelter set up at a local community center, The Record of Stockton reported.
Moreover, several street closures in the area also were in effect, according to a Stockton police Facebook post.
The evacuations were simply due diligence since there were a high number of devices found at the scene, Silva said.
“You have to look at each device, determine if it’s live or not and then figure out exactly how you’re going to move it out of the residence,” he told The Record.
Authorities didn’t immediately know if the deceased man had served in the military or if anyone else lived in the home, according to the news agency.
One neighbor, Dale Boyd, described the man who died as a pleasant man who “never caused a problem.” However, Boyd said he didn’t know the man well, The Record reported.
After military experts went to the home to investigate, it was determined the majority of the devices were replicas, according to Lt. Col. Glenn Cameron with Travis Air Force Base.
Lt. Col. Cameron said they have been able to determine if William White Jr., who died inside his home, was simply a collector of military memorabilia, Fox 40 reported.
“The very vast majority were absolutely made to look like they were real,” Lt. Col. Cameron explained. “There were one or two that had been inerted, which means, basically, they either had drilled out the primer or the cap or anything else and removed the powder on all of them. With a couple of the small fuses, they just have a little bit of remnants of explosives in them.”