MONROE, CT — A number of residents called police and firefighters after hearing explosions near Garder Road Wednesday afternoon, and Facebook posts were filled with speculation over whether the blasting came from an illegal quarry.
Fire Marshal William “Bill” Davin told The Sun the noise came from the Garder Road Landfill, where the FBI and Connecticut State Police bomb squads held a joint regional training exercise for close to 30 first responders on bomb recognition and what explosives can do.
“The schools were notified,” he said. “Fawn Hollow and Jockey Hollow were contacted in advance, so there was no panic there.”
However, after the series of 10 to 12 explosions, a number of calls from concerned citizens came in at the police station and fire marshal’s office. Davin said the emergency dispatcher told callers what was going on, putting them at ease.
Davin, who attended the class and demonstration, returned some phone calls himself after returning to his office at Monroe Town Hall. “Some callers said they were happy to hear this kind of training is being done,” he said.
A classroom session was held at the Monroe Firehouse on Route 110, from 8:30 to 11:30 a.m. Then the explosives demonstration took place at the landfill from 11:45 to around 1 p.m., according to Davin.
“They will be doing it again tomorrow from 12 to 1,” he said of the blasting.
First responders participating in the training exercise included police officers, firefighters and emergency medical service volunteers from different towns.
Unlike blasting in a quarry, when a drill digs 20-to-30 feet into the ground, where an explosive is set off causing the ground to rumble, Davin said explosives in the demonstration are above ground.
“Onsite at the landfill you felt it, but other than that it was a lot of noise,” Davin said. “These above ground props are for demonstration purposes. The explosives are placed on wooden easels, for lack of a better word, which disintegrate with the explosion.”
There was heavy cloud cover Wednesday afternoon, so the noise did not dissipate as quickly and more people heard it than normally would, according to Davin. “On a clear day it’s not as intense,” he said.
All respectful comments with the commenter’s first and last name are welcome.