What is believed to be century-old, decayed dynamite was discovered by workers earlier this week at the East Broad Top Railroad at Rockhill.

The discovery of antique explosives at the National Historical Landmark by employees working on a stabilization project on the site resulted in an extensive investigation and the development of a disposal plan, explained Jonathan Smith, EBT Foundation director of sales and marketing.

“It was determined that the material in question was probably decayed dynamite, estimated to be 100 years old,” reported Smith. “This evaluation also concluded that there was no imminent danger to employees or the surrounding community while further planning for its disposal commenced.”

After EBT Foundation employees discovered five cases of an undetermined material labeled explosives during stabilization work at one of the aged EBT structures earlier this week, work was immediately stopped with company officials conducting an initial investigation, continued Smith.

Specialty Professional Services Inc. of Washington, Pennsylvania, was called in to investigate the discovery with officials reaching the conclusion that the material was probably 100-year-old, decomposed dynamite. The discovery was followed by a disposal procedure which presents no danger to the railroad employees or surrounding community.

The safety plan, created by the Washington-based company, was carefully reviewed by a multiple of county and state emergency management officials, noted Smith, adding, “the EBT Foundation, along with all of these agencies, has coordinated efforts to ensure the safest course of action concerning the community, employees and our historic structures.”

As of Friday, remediation and disposal processes were being performed, Smith explained. “The evaluation of our experts is that these processes have a very low risk of any potential hazard.”

The EBT Foundation expressed its thanks to the following for their assistance in handling the explosive discovery: Huntingdon County Commissioners, county Emergency Management Agency, Pennsylvania Emergency Management Agency, Pennsylvania State Police, state Department of Environmental Protection (DEP), Orbisonia-Rockhill Volunteer Fire Co. and Specialty Professional Services Inc.

The EBT Foundation acquired the EBT in February 2020 and continues its restoration of the railroad with plans to return to tourist service later this year.

Ron can be reached at dnews@huntingdondailynews.com.


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