Evacuations begin to lift after bomb squad removes hazardous materials in San Pablo

Some San Pablo residents are now safe to return home after being evacuated Wednesday due to hazardous materials found in a late chemist's shed, according to Contra Costa Fire officials Thursday. 

Officials said at an early evening news conference that the materials identified were found to be over 600 different chemicals and that more than 800 bottles of hazardous materials have been removed. 

The home belonged to Mark Elson, who died six months ago, authorities told KTVU. Elson's brother was cleaning out the shed in the home's backyard when he discovered the hazardous chemicals.

Green zones in the map below show where residents can return as of noon. 

Officials say those living on Stanton & John Avenue are allowed home for an hour under police escort, but must then return to the evacuation center.

The bomb squad began investigating the late chemist's shed on Wednesday afternoon, removing hundreds of boxes with several hazardous materials, including some explosives, from the 900 block of Stanton Ave.

Hundreds of residents were evacuated Wednesday.

At a news conference Wednesday, Contra Costa Fire Protection District spokesperson Chris Toler said that the biggest problem was that these chemicals were being held in improper and unstable containers, and there were all sorts of chemicals stored next to each other, which may not have been a safe idea.

Authorities were alerted to the situation after the homeowner's brother took chemicals to a recycling center, and he was asked about where he got them, Toler said.

At Thursday afternoon news conference, Toler said that many chemicals are still in unsafe containers. The fire captain said authorities are aiming to return residents to their homes by Thursday evening.

No one has yet provided the chemist's name to verify who he was or where he worked.


Bomb squad removes hazardous materials from San Pablo home of late chemist

A bomb squad began investigating hundreds of boxes with several hazardous materials, including some explosives, found at the home of a late chemist on Wednesday afternoon in a San Pablo backyard shed.