A suspicious package taken to Fire Station 97 prompted a response by the sheriff’s bomb squad and the closure of sections of Tracy Boulevard and Central Avenue on Friday afternoon.
On Tuesday morning, Tracy Police Department Lt. Tony Matuska said the package, which was destroyed, appeared to have been two fire extinguisher casings.
The outside appeared to be cardboard wrapped with duct tape, forming a cylindrical object about a foot and a half long and several inches in diameter.
A news release from the police said an elderly woman took the package to the fire station at 595 W. Central Ave. just before 2 p.m. Friday, thinking it might be a military relic. According to police records, she suspected it was an explosive device her husband made while he was in the military and she wanted to get rid of it.
Firefighters evacuated the fire station and used their fire engine to block Central Avenue at Deerwood Lane while police closed the road at Tracy Boulevard.
Police called the sheriff’s bomb squad — formally, the San Joaquin County Sheriff’s Office Explosive Ordnance Disposal unit — to investigate the package, which had been left near the entrance to the station.
At the request of the bomb squad, traffic was kept away from the station. Northbound Tracy Boulevard was closed at Valpico Road, and southbound Tracy Boulevard was closed at Petrig Street. Westbound traffic on West Central Avenue was stopped at Cedrus Drive.
A robot was used to examine the package, and then a deputy in a bomb-resistant suit approached to X-ray it. Deputies decided to move the package, picking it up with a mechanical claw attached to a pole on wheels that took it to a secure bomb truck. The surrounding roads were opened shortly after that.
The package was taken to the Tracy Police Department’s shooting range south of town near the California Aqueduct, where it was destroyed around 6:30 p.m.
Matuska said that if anyone finds a suspicious object or a military-type relic or ordnance, they should not touch it or move it in any way. Instead, they should leave the area and call the police, who will coordinate with the sheriff’s office to safely remove it.