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Updated: Explosives found in Hughes, residents evacuated: Exclusive Audio

June 28th, 2008 at 11:18am

Explosives were found in a home in Jess Place, Hughes yesterday causing police to evacuate residents while they attempted to safely remove the explosives. It is believed that the deceased resident of the house may have been collecting explosives for a number of years.

Residents were evacuated and handed this press release to explain the situation, while an ACT Government Evacuation Centre was setup in the Hughes Community Hall.

I spoke to one of the evacuated residents this morning:

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For those of you who aren’t familiar with the area, here’s an overview map that I created:
Hughes, ACT

The interviewed Hughes resident, who does not wish to be named, has also kindly provided me with a map of the affected area:
Explosives found in the suburb of Hughes, ACT
(Click image to enlarge)

Red is the confirmed initial roadblocks I saw at 3.30pm, with the one on Brand street to stop people walking into the area through the nature strip rather than a traffic road block.

Blue were the roadblocks when i returned at 7.

Orange was the staging area, I assume will be the same place today. Kent St was covered in emergency service vehicles there yesterday so it’s hard to miss.

Yellow is the house someone said they strongly believed was the house in question, however when I passed last night on my way home I don’t recall many officers at that particular house, it may have been the one above it.

The house shaded in yellow is number 4 Jess Place, and the one above it is number 6 Jess Place. I will endeavour to bring you an exact address. Update: Address detailed below End Update

Residents are expected to be evacuated again today as the police and the army work on removing the explosives. Further updates as they come to hand.

Update 2:55pmThe activity has certainly died down in the area and only a handful of police and explosives experts remain on the scene. Marked police vehicles are intermittently in the area however it is two unmarked vans which seem to be the resident official vehicles of the operation.

I can now confirm that the house is number 2 Jess Place, Hughes, shown on this map in yellow:
Explosives found in the suburb of Hughes, ACT
(Click image to enlarge)

The scene is very quiet and the word is that any evacuations this afternoon are likely to be confined to Jess Place and neighbouring houses.

2 Jess Place Hughes ACT
The police talk to a neighbour about the situation.

2 Jess Place Hughes ACT
Number 2 Jess Place, with the explosive-laden garage visible between the vans

2 Jess Place Hughes ACT
The scene from Birdwood Street

It’s a pity that I don’t have a time machine as the scene was apparently much more interesting last night, with many emergency service vehicles on the scene and a staging area which was being used rather than being completely cleaned up as was the case this afternoon. End Update

Further Update 10:21PM: No wonder it was quiet when I was in the suburb between 1pm and 2:30pm. The Australian Federal Police have issued a press release declaring the area safe:

Conclusion of Hughes incident
Saturday, 28 June 2008

ACT Policing has completed the search of a Hughes home for commercial explosives and military ordnance.

The search was completed about 2.30pm today (June 28) and all suspicious items have been removed from the area.

The items included a quantity of gelignite and a World War II era hand-grenade.

No evacuations of Hughes residents were required today.

Superintendent Matt Varley praised the Hughes residents saying, “We are grateful to all the residents of Hughes who were affected by this incident, for their patience and cooperation. This was a difficult situation which had to be dealt with in a slow and safe manner.

“This incident highlights the seriousness of collecting dangerous ‘souvenirs’ which put police and other members of the public at risk. The disposal of these items causes significant disruption to the community.

“If people are in possession of explosives in any form, they should contact police to discuss their safe disposal.

“I highly commend the officers involved in this operation for their hard work under trying circumstances,” Superintendent Varley said.

The explosives will now be disposed of at an undisclosed location by the AFP Bomb Response Team.

And so, without taking away from the seriousness of the matter, one of Canberra’s more interesting news stories this year, draws to a close. End Update

Samuel

Entry Filed under: Canberra Stories

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