NEWS

Barrie explosives search taking longer than expected

07/16/2012 02:10 EDT | Updated 09/15/2012 05:12 EDT
A continuing search of a suburban house where dozens of explosive devices have been found in Barrie, Ont., has left residents waiting for police to wrap up their work so they can return to their homes.

Barrie police Const. Angela Butler said the search of the home on Virgilwood Crescent is proceeding very slowly. For every two steps forward officers take, they end up going four steps back, she said.

Police have already detonated more than 50 explosive devices found at the home, and have found various unidentified chemicals at the residence.

The process has disrupted the lives of about 60 people who live in nearby homes, forced to stay away while police finish their work.

"We are going to be here all week, and unfortunately after that we just don't know," said Butler.

"As the officers go step by step through the house, they may be faced with new things and they need to determine what that is."

Although residents don’t relish living in limbo, some say that they are glad that police are being cautious and thorough.

"It is very frustrating, but I’d rather be safe than blown up, I suppose," said Kim Pattenden, one of several dozen residents who are unlikely to be able to return home for the rest of this week.

Bombs made of metal, plastic

Butler wouldn't comment on the sophistication of the devices, but police said they vary in size, are built out of metal or plastic and packed with explosive material and metal.

Police said the chemicals found in the home are not everyday materials. Part of their investigation now involves determining how they were acquired.

On Monday, police allowed residents to make quick visits back to their homes so they could pick up some essentials.

Police also said Monday that explosives-related charges will be laid against the father and son who live at the home. They are currently being held in connection with a 1978 cold case homicide.

The explosive devices and chemicals were uncovered after police executed a search warrant at their home on Thursday. They found explosive devices tucked away in hidden places, while others were left out in the open.

The search was ordered after a 54-year-old resident at the home, Donald Feldhoff, turned himself in to police on Wednesday in connection with the 1978 death of 26-year-old Michael Traynor.

Feldhoff has since been charged with first-degree murder. His father, 75-year-old William Feldhoff, was charged as an accessory after the fact.

The CBC’s Steven D’Souza reported that Donald Feldhoff had recently moved back to the Virgilwood Crescent home that his father owned.

Neighbours said that William Feldhoff was a retired butcher who immigrated to Canada from Germany.

Lance Black said the elder Feldhoff could often be seen walking outside his home to smoke.

"If the bomb squad’s having this much trouble, what could have happened if he had a smoke inside? It’s kind of obvious now why he smoked outside of the house," said Black, alluding to the explosive materials that have been found within the Virgilwood Crescent home.

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