Wednesday, November 17, 2010

One more from the high desert

Speaking of weird crime in the high desert, this is pretty unbeatable:
Victorville Daily Press, 16 November 2010

Buckets of mercury found in Hesperia home

HESPERIA -- A man and a teen were forced to evacuate their home early Tuesday morning after authorities found buckets of mercury, according to San Bernardino County Fire officials.

Working from a tip, officials were called to a home in the 11900 block of Sixth Avenue at about 1:15 a.m. about liquid mercury being kept in the home.

"They found one pound of the liquid metal in buckets," Jay Hausman, spokesman for the fire department, said.

The man was extracting the metal from computer components, but it's unclear why he was collecting the mercury.

Neighbors said the man actually lived in a trailer in the rear of the home.

"It's a main respiratory hazard if exposed to it," Hausman said. "It's easily absorbed into the lungs through inhalation but it can also be spread very easily by walking through it if there's a spill... Even when a thermometer breaks, it's considered a mercury spill. It's a highly hazardous neurotoxicant."

The man -- whose identity was not immediately available -- was cited for possessing the highly toxic substance. He and the teen in the were forced to evacuate, Hausman said. The residents will not be allowed to return to the location where the mercury was found until a private hazardous material contractor is brought to the location to clean the area, authorities said.
The man was identified today as a 39-year-old resident of Hesperia, a desert town near Victorville, which is between San Bernardino and Las Vegas.

A pound of mercury. I can't begin to know how many people that could kill if it were, for example, thrown into an aqueduct (which run exposed all over rural California). But just think about this guy living in a trailer, patiently collecting the shiny metal for reasons of his own. Think about his teenaged son living there with him. That's the desert.

No comments: