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Explosive materials removed from truck
Bomb 0082
A member of the Dane County Sheriff's Department bomb squad assesses the situation on Sunday evening. - photo by Dena Harris

CUBA CITY—With a deflating pop and a white cloud of vapor, two small homemade bombs were diffused in the bed of a truck at a gas station parking lot in Cuba City on Sunday evening.

Police roped off a 15-foot radius around the vehicle in question—a small, tan GMC pick-up truck—located in the Kwik Trip parking lot while awaiting assistance from the Dane County Sheriff’s Department bomb squad. The parking lot was closed to all pedestrians and vehicles for more than three hours. 

According to Cuba City Police Chief Troy Loeffelholz, the police department was dispatched to Kwik Trip at 3:58 p.m. to assist at a Cuba City Area Rescue Squad call.

Cuba City Police Commander Eric Lyons said emergency responders treated a 17-year-old boy after he inhaled chemicals and drove his family's truck to Kwik Trip.

Loeffelholz said information was collected that led police to launch an investigation, which uncovered two plastic bottles filled with an unknown liquid. The bottles, as well as partial containers of household products, were discovered in the bed of a pick-up truck parked in front of the Kwik Trip entrance.

The Dane County Sheriff’s Department bomb squad responded to remove the plastic bottles containing an unknown chemical mixture believed to be homemade explosives. Using a long rod with a hook and spear at one end, the plastic bottles were popped and removed.

“The mixture inside the bottles was believed to be a mixture of common household chemicals and materials,” Loeffelholz said. “The items were removed and the contents disposed of.”

Lyons said the chemical mixture was consistent with crude explosives used to blow up mailboxes.

Police secured the location by removing all subjects from the store, closing the gas station and blocking pedestrians from the business. Traffic on Hwy. 80 was not affected.

The scene was rendered safe and the store was opened back to the public at approximately 7:25 p.m. There was no damage or any on-scene injuries that occurred.

Police are not providing any further information about the subjects involved or the chemicals used, as it is an ongoing investigation.

Agencies assisting at the scene included the Lafayette County Sheriff’s Department, Grant County Sheriff’s Department dispatch, Dane County Sheriff’s Department, Cuba City Fire Department, Cuba City Area Rescue Squad, Darlington Fire Department, Jo Daviess County (Ill.) HazMat team and area team members, Grant County Emergency Management and Kwik Trip.

Loeffelholz said he is unsure if the Cuba City Police Department will be charged for the mutual aid call to the Dane County Sheriff’s Department bomb squad. He said if there is a charge, he will file a claim with the department’s insurance to attempt to retrieve compensation.