Bomb Squad Detonates Suspicious Package in Mailbox on Prattwood Ln. in Palm Coast
FlaglerLive | January 27, 2016
Last Updated: 10:16 p.m.
St. Johns County’s bomb squad was called in by the Flagler County Sheriff’s Office this evening after a suspicious package was discovered in a mailbox on Prattwood Lane in Palm Coast. The mailbox was at 22 Prattwood, a house that since 2003 has belonged to Thomasina Jackson and Carla Lee.
Prattwood connects in a large U from two ends of Pritchard Drive, a short distance across a canal from the back end of the campus of Buddy Taylor Middle School. The house in whose mailbox the package was found is believed to belong to a retired member of the military.
Thomasina Jackson, better known locally as Tasia, is a well known artist and performer. She left the house as the bomb squad went to work.
The sheriff’s office received more than one call about the suspicious package. “One of the callers thought there was a wire coming from it,” Cmdr. Jeff Stuart of the Flagler sheriff’s office said at the scene, just as the bomb squad was setting to work. “This is their deal, they know what they’re doing.”
At 9:09 p.m, a loud bang – the sound was louder than a gunshot but not as loud as a transformer blowing – was heard throughout the neighborhood, coming from where the squad was working. It did not appear to alarm any of the personnel, who carried on as before: the squad had in fact exploded the device after situating it on top of the mailbox.
The squad had X-rayed the package, Stuart said, “and it appeared to be some type of electrical device taped together. They detonated it.” There was no explosive residue from the device, so “at this point it doesn’t appear to be an explosive device,” he said. Nevertheless, the package had not been a piece of mail or a legitimate parcel of any sort.
“It looked like it was just placed in the mailbox, there were no markings on it, which was a little concerning,” Stuart said. “She was not expecting a package,” he said, referring to the owner.
Shortly after the detonation, members of the squad scoured the zone around the mailbox to collect residue and any evidence to further analyze more conclusively. The incident was essentially over at 9:30 p.m.
There’d been no need for evacuations, as the house at 22 Prattwood is somewhat isolated and faces an empty lot. Neighbors not far off watched the scene unfold.
The St. Johns bomb squad responds to such emergency calls in Putnam and Flagler counties. As it did this evening, the squad brings “Frosty,” its robot, equipped to retrieve and videotape packages without compromising personnel. The calls are not frequent, but they happen about once or twice a year. Most of the time the suspicion is determined to be unfounded.
On occasion, live explosives are found, as when the bomb squad determined that the grenade found at the intersection of Belle Terre Parkway and Palm Coast Parkway in October 2013. The following month, the bomb squad determined that a grenade found at the Flagler County landfill was a dud, though it found a live smoke bomb in the same package, and detonated it safely.
A suspicious powder was found at Palm Coast Data last July. In that case St. John’s hazmat team, which has also made periodic trips to Flagler, was sent down and determined that the powder was no threat. (Palm Coast Data was the target of a vague bomb threat from a Canadian phone number in October, but that only necessitated a minor response before it was determined to be bogus.)