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Things that go boom

Bomb class, with its Molotov cocktails and plastic explosives, had a certain fascination.

Arson class ran the gamut of timing devices and accelerants.

But the field trips got down to the nitty gritty. Those were a blast.

Law enforcement and fire officials from around Citrus County who were taking the classes as part of their recertification learned about the power of explosives. The detonation of a mobile home was the highlight of Wednesday.

Two bomb experts from Palm Beach planted a 20-pound "sausage" (commercial explosives used in mining) inside the structure, and soon the home became upwardly mobile.

A '78 Mercury also paid the price, the victim of 12 ounces of plastic explosives known as C-4 (used in the military and by terrorists because it is so difficult to detect and so powerful).

"It was really amazing," said Tom Kern, coordinator of the Law Enforcement program at Withlacoochee Technical Institute. "It was quite a sight to see."

Besides the "sausage" and the plastic explosives, the students also saw the use of Molotov cocktails, gasoline, and even fertilizers mixed with accelerants.

On Thursday, another trailer was used to show Citrus County arson investigators how different timing devices and accelerants are used to start fires. After several small fires were lighted, and later extinguished, the students entered the trailer to see the results and look for the signs of arson.

Citrus County Fire Marshal Mike Connell coordinated the training sessions, which were taught by two Palm Beach sheriff's deputies, Joe Howie and Ralf Kreling. The 40-hour class is required of law enforcement officers to maintain their certification.

"Those two guys really know what they're doing," said Connell.

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