FBI visits Blythe for post-blast class on evidence gathering

FBI visits Blythe for post-blast evidence class

Nearly 30 members of the FBI Evidence Response Team are spending the week watching bombs go off in Richmond County.


The sheriff’s office is playing host to the FBI Post-Blast Investigators Class at its training range in Blythe, where on Monday students watched everything from filing cabinets to tires and even raw chickens explode.

“We think it’s important that we partner with our federal brothers and sisters,” Richmond County sheriff’s Lt. Bill Probus said of the class.

Three members of Richmond County’s bomb squad were on hand to assist, but they did not take part in the class. Probus said several students, whom he described as “true specialists in the field,” had been called in to investigate the aftermath of the Boston Marathon bombing.

This week’s classes were considered advanced training.

An FBI instructor from the Quantico Division, who could not be identified because of the nature of his job, said the bureau had continuously chosen Richmond County as a destination for its post-blast class because the rural training facility could accommodate their needs.

For miles around the facility, drivers were warned of “loud noises” coming from the homemade, commercial, military and improvised explosive blasts.

During the first day of classes Tuesday, instructors demonstrated low and high explosives on an expansive field that demonstrated the types of explosives used, the effect they had and the types of clouds or fire they made. At the end of the demonstrations, the students walked through the area to see what the blast sites looked like close up.

The instructor said the goal is to teach about procedures used to collect evidence from a blast site.

At the end of the week, students were to be broken into teams and respond to and investigate a vehicle bomb. They will be required to re-create the crime scene through knowledge obtained during the course and reconstruct the device using the small amount of remaining evidence.