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Poplar Bluff, MO -- Marsha Mays Reporting

Taking Care of a Ticking Time Bomb

POPLAR BLUFF, MO -- Bootheel Cops are having a blast during a weeklong training session. Explosives are the topic.

"Anything from a pipe bomb to military grade explosives, from black powder to civilian high explosives," says Joseph Craft, with the SEMO Bomb Squad.

Craft is an assistant instructor for this bomb training course, teaching local agencies from the Poplar Bluff Police Department, to state and federal task forces. The week long course teaches how to react to a bomb scare.

"It's an awareness of what the products look like, how they look if they're open and some of the other safety precautions," says Jeffrey Fulton, Assistant Special Agent for the ATF.

This training gives them a firsthand look into what the explosion would look like and what kind of mess it can leave behind.

"We set those up for the students to actually get an eyes on of what they're going through in the classroom so they can actually get a visual of what a blast looks like if they're going to be actually investigating one at a scene," says Craft.

From blast to blast, each one is different and they say should be handled that way.

"Different types of explosives have different types of blast signatures because of the heat and pressure and different things than just the physics of it," says Craft.

But the purpose of the course is not to teach the investigators how to deactivate a ticking time bomb.

"It'll teach them how to recognize it so they know to call the Southeast Missouri Bomb Squad or the FBI or the ATF or the Missouri Highway Patrol. To call one of those folks who have the expertise to actually handle a device or live explosives," says Fulton.

Knowledge that this federal bomb agent says is crucial when handling a bomb that could possibly destroy property or worse, someone's life.

"They need to know that this looks like something we were taught about. I just need to evacuate the house and call in the experts," adds Fulton.

The sponsors for this week's training say they hope to spread the course across the whole state of Missouri, so all areas have this explosive knowledge available in their neighborhood.  

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