Rotarians hear from area bomb squad member

COLUMBIA CITY — Columbia City Rotarians learned of explosions from the perspective of Fort Wayne Indiana Region III Bomb Squad Commander Sergeant Greg Stier. “To blow up is the only thing an explosive device wants to do,” said Stier. “We encourage that too, but we want it to blow up on our terms.” According to Stier, this is the simple goal of a person assigned to the bomb squad at the Fort Wayne police department. “The physics of an explosive device are simple,” Stier said. “It just wants to react the only way it knows to react. Controlling that reaction is the key element. “The bad guys want it to explode on their terms and the bomb squad wants it to explode on their terms.Stier said the goal for the squad is to keep everyone and everything around the bomb out of harms way.There are four people assigned to this very hazardous duty job. According to Stier, it takes approximately seven years to become fully qualified in the techniques of bomb squad work. “We currently have an additional three recruits helping out, but it will take several years before they can relieve the workload that comes in,” Stier said. Their responsibilities cover the 11 Northeast Indiana counties. Many times they work along side of the stat police bomb squad as well.Their work does not always involve bombs directed at other humans. “Actually, most of our work deals with things like finding old sticks of dynamite left over or stored from back in the days when dynamite was used to blow up stumps and clear land,” said Stier.“They are gone now but many times a farmer would have leftover dynamite and he would just keep the sticks. Then 40 years passes, the farmer dies, and someone finds a cache of dynamite buried in a recess of an old barn.”Stier said the dynamite is still potentially very dangerous and authorities need to be notified. This is a common scenario for men working with the bomb squad.However, things have changed. With the profits garnered in illegal drugs, specifically methamphetamine production, people are attempting to make the drug without really understanding the associated problems.The production of meth results in extreme amounts of heat being generated. If the heat is not controlled, an explosion results. “Fortunately, or unfortunately, depending on your position, when it comes to making bombs, people die before they get good at it,” said Stier. It’s the vulgarities of the job that add to its complexity, yet make it such a challenge for Stier.Profiling is very important in that a typical bomber is male, white, 20 to 40 years of age. They typically are highly intelligent, are not very social and mostly likely lack people skills.Stier had hoped that the ex-military demolition experts would help fill the voids in skilled personnel. “The opposite was true,” he said. According to his observation, Steir said once finished with their military service, the typical demolition expert doesn’t want to continue in civilian life. That’s not all that hard to understand with the pressure that must be there.