Cathedral City bomb house burned to the ground

Burn a success, and residents being allowed back home

CC Mobile home fire "NEW"

CATHEDRAL CITY, Calif. - Update Saturday at 11:00 a.m.

As of this moment residents of the Sungate Mobile Home Park community are allowed back into their homes. Stay with News Channel 3 and Natalie Brunell for the latest.

Update 11.15

Cathedral City Police department says the wall built to protect neighboring homes fell down because of the intense heat of the fire.  They would have liked for it to have stayed up, but even with it down, fire crews are able to keep it from burning any other homes.  There is some lattice work that was behind the wall, it remains untouched by the fire. 

The home to the east, west and south are intact, there is no damage, according to Cathedral City Police.

Update 11.10 p.m.

Cathedral City Mayor Kathy DeRosa says burn is going as planned.  Our crews live on the scene are hearing popping sounds along with the fire, but no explosions. 

Update 10.50 p.m.

Protective wall fire crews built to keep the fire from neighboring homes falls down.

Update 10:45 p.m.

Burn operation is now underway, mobile home is currently on fire. 

Update: 10:30 p.m.

Misfire: 1st attempt to ignite mobile home filled with explosives fails.  Emergency crews will attempt again shortly.

Update 10:00 p.m.

Crews attempt to set off explosion at home filled with explosives at the Sungate Mobile Home Park in Cathedral City.  It was earlier scheduled to begin at 8:00 p.m.

The saga all began Tuesday morning after 22-year-old Sean Clarke was arrested  for making explosive materials in the home, located at 69333 East Palm Canyon Drive, inside the Sungate Mobile Home Park.  Police say Clarke was using potassium nitrate and aluminum powder to make explosives.

A bomb squad deployed two robots to dispose of the explosive device safely Tuesday evening, but police determined the most effective, efficient, and safest option to get rid of the explosive powder in the home was to conduct the burn-in-place.

The homes surrounding the RV are being protected with barrier walls and are being treated with a fire retardant thermo gel, according to a release from the Cathedral City Police Department.

Authorities are also taking precautions by setting up unmanned hoses that will be activated to protect the surrounding homes once the fire ignites. Southern California Edison will be turning off electricity to eight homes surrounding the RV as well.

The burn-in-place will be activated remotely and firefighters will stand about 150 feet from the home at the initial start of the fire.

Residents who live on the same street as the RV have been evacuated from their homes since Tuesday morning. Additional resident in the park were evacuated at 4:00 p.m. Friday for the operation.

The American Red Cross has also opened a shelter for the residents of Sungate Mobile Home Park evacuated at Cathedral City High School, 69-250 Dinah Shore Drive.

Red Cross volunteers will be on-hand to provide evacuated residents food, water and a safe place to stay during the planned burn. The Red Cross will continue to work with our community partners to provide the services needed for those displaced by this fire.

Officials said the Air Quality Management District, Riverside County Department of Environmental Health, Riverside County Hazardous Material Team and the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency will be on scene to monitor and take samples of air quality as they work with the Cathedral City Fire Department to ensure a safe outcome.

An incident command post is set up near the Big Lots Shopping Center on Date Palm Drive and East Palm Canyon Drive in case more firefighters or equipment is needed for the controlled burn.

Authorities will continue to monitor weather conditions throughout the event.

Police said the evacuated residents are all spending the night with friends, family or at their second homes. If all goes as planned, they should be able to return to their homes by 12 p.m. Saturday.

This is the first time the burn-in-place method will be used in Riverside County, and only the second time in California. For those reasons, everyone involved is being extra cautious.

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