MARIPOSA COUNTY — For the past few days, officials have been handling a hazmat issue in the Midpines area, first determining what they were dealing with, and making sure the public was not in danger.
Motorists traveling between Yosemite National Park and Mariposa on Highway 140 have been reporting a large presence of law enforcement, and the Mariposa County Sheriff’s Office has reported the following details of the incident.
On Tuesday, Oct. 31, a citizen located and reported some suspected live explosive material just inside a mine entrance near the 7000 block of Highway 140.
“This occasionally occurs with the region’s old and even current mining activity,” says Sheriff Doug Binnewies.
Deputies responded and confirmed a small cache of explosive and detonation cord. Also located were a couple of containers of unknown substances, which appeared to be caustic.
It was determined that a Hazmat Team needed to respond. Cal Fire was contacted to command the hazmat operations under the authority of the Mariposa County Sheriff’s Office. The uncertainty of the unidentified hazard required furthered expertise, which required that more hazmat experts respond.
All safety protocols were followed to ensure that public safety was a priority, says the Sheriff’s Office. Ultimately, it was determined that the substances were not a great threat and were “handled appropriately.”
“I compliment the many local, state and federal agencies that assisted our County during this investigation,” says Sheriff Binnewies. “The Mariposa County Sheriff’s Office is continuing the investigation and believe it will be concluded shortly.
“The unsafe storage of explosives is a great concern to us and we are speaking with the responsible. Our investigation will be forwarded to the District Attorney.”
The Sheriff’s Office will update with more details once the investigation is complete.