GLOBE- On March 21 at approximately 9:50 A.M., Globe Fire personnel were called to investigate a substance contained in bottles located in a store front on the 100 North Block of Broad St in downtown Globe. Upon investigation, it was determined that the bottles contained picric acid which had begun to crystalize and deteriorate. In this form, picric acid is extremely volatile and can explode if exposed to heat, shock or friction. Based on this information, and in consultation with Arizona Department of Public Safety hazardous materials personnel, Globe Fire Department initiated a hazardous materials incident and began evacuations which eventually incorporated a total of 8 blocks of the historic downtown district.
Globe Fire Department was assisted by Tri-City Fire District as well as Officers from the Globe Police Department, Deputies from the Gila County Sheriffs Office, and personnel from the City of Globe Public Works department. In addition, Troopers from the Arizona Department of Public Safety’s Hazardous Materials and Explosive Ordinance Disposal units were called in to assist. The downtown area remained closed off for the majority of the afternoon as the resources needed to mitigate the material assembled.
As the incident unfolded, three other sites potentially containing bottles of picric acid were identified. Picric acid was confirmed at an additional site within the evacuated area as well as at the Gila County Historical Society Museum. The bottles of acid at these two additional sites were determined to be much less volotile. Personnel from the museum closed and secured the building to prevent anyone from entering until the material could be secured.
At a little after 4 P.M., personnel from the Explosive Ordinance Disposal Team began entering the locations and securing the acid in a container designed to minimize the force of a potential detonation. In total, it took approximately 30 minutes to secure the material. Once the material was secured, it was moved to a secure location outside the City where it was detonated by Troopers.
The Globe Fire Department would like to thank the following agencies and organizations for the effort and support in mitigating this incident:
Tri-City Fire District; Globe Police Department; Arizona Department of Public Safety; Gila County Sheriffs Office; Globe Public Works; Gila County Emergency Management; City of Globe administrative staff; Southwest Gas; APS; Arizona Eastern Railroad