Firefighters discover explosive device

Firefighters got a bit of a surprise Monday afternoon when they opened up a bag of expired flares and found something they believed packed a much bigger bang.

Firefighters got a bit of a surprise Monday afternoon when they opened up a bag of expired flares and found something they believed packed a much bigger bang.

Doug Bell, chief fire investigator with Nanaimo Fire Rescue, said firefighters at the Station 2 training centre on Dorman Road were sorting through some expired flares – which the department collects from people and disposes of safely – at about noon Monday when they came across an item that looked suspiciously like a stick of dynamite.

Crews cordoned off the area and sent a picture of the item to the Lower Mainland-based RCMP bomb squad.

It turned out to be a commercial-grade fireworks device, said Bell, and the fire department handed it over to Nanaimo RCMP to send to the bomb squad for disposal.

Commercial fireworks can still be quite dangerous, he added.

“Some of these things shoot hundreds of metres into the sky,” said Bell. “Someone really could have got hurt.”