Fire in the hole on Aspen’s Smuggler Mountain
September 14, 2011
ASPEN – Thunderous explosions rolled through Aspen late Tuesday afternoon. The intentional detonations at the Smuggler Mine were part of an educational exercise for district attorneys from across Colorado.
The Grand Junction police bomb squad partnered with Jay Parker, co-owner of the Smuggler Mine, for a demonstration in front of about 30 district attorneys and members of their offices visiting for the event.
“These [explosives] are in the right hands,” Parker said. “But this will give the DAs an idea of what happens in the wrong hands.”
The district attorneys in attendance received an up-close education in the differences in explosives, how criminals get them and how criminals might make them.
“This shows us how damaging these explosives can be,” said Colorado Springs deputy district attorney Drew Reitman.
The Aspen Volunteer Fire Department was present at the demonstration, along with members of the Aspen Police Department. And while those who have registered for Pitkin Alert were notified before the blasting, others had little warning about the blasts. (Pitkin Alert is a text message, email and/or phone call notification system for the community.)
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“I found it horribly insensitive and unbelievably noisy,” said Rebecca Magill, a resident of the Smuggler mobile home park.
Magill said the blasts were out of the blue and that dog owners would probably not be very happy as the explosive would have scared their canine companions.
Also, a few people who were already hiking up Smuggler Mountain Road came hurriedly down after the first few bangs.
Parker, a longtime Aspen resident, said that he expected complaints. But he also joked that even though he only volunteered the site and did not execute the demonstration, he would be blamed for it.