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Bomb Squad secures railroad signaling devices in Santa Barbara

A Santa Barbara resident had a bit of a scare when he was cleaning out old items from his storage shed and found a group of items labeled, “Explosive.”

Santa Barbara Sheriff Deputies responded around 4:00 p.m. on Saturday in the 300 block of Old Mill Road to the bomb scare. Deputies on scene requested assistance from the County Sheriff’s Bomb Squad.

The Bomb Squad crew determined the items to be railroad torpedo signaling devices and safely secured them for safe disposal.

Railroad Torpedos are small dynamic charges that are usually wrapped in red paper with metal straps to hold them firmly in place on railroad rails. When a train’s wheel comes in contact with the torpedo, the weight of the engine sets off the charge creating a loud bang to signal the conductor to stop.

The Sheriff’s Office says they are not used as much today due to the use of two-way radios. The devices are commercially made but are too dangerous to handle and can cause injury.

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