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Dillingham Police, FBI detonate explosive material at city’s landfill

The entrance to the Dillingham Police Department. Sept. 9, 2022.
Izzy Ross
The entrance to the Dillingham Police Department. Sept. 9, 2022.

On December 6, the Dillingham Police Department and the Federal Bureau of Investigation destroyed explosive material at the city’s landfill.

Dillingham’s interim police chief Craig Maines said that the material was discovered a few months prior as part of an open FBI investigation.

“It was a controlled area. Everything was located and taken into custody and was disposed of,” he said.

He said that the police held the material in their evidence room until specialists arrived on the morning of Dec. 6 to properly destroy it.

“It was interesting to see. We placed it behind a nice dirt pile out there at the landfill that they had saved up for covering waste,” he said. “We stood from a safe distance and set it all off, and I guess some people heard it from town.”

Neither the FBI nor the Dillingham Police Department stated how much explosive was detonated. The police department declined to describe what the material was that needed to be destroyed, but a city notice to the public said that community members may have heard a boom or felt a jolt or vibrations at the time of the explosion.

City Planner Patty Buholm said the landfill was a controlled area and at the time of the explosion, the roadway was blocked off to local traffic.

The city said in a public statement that it did not notify the public of the explosion prior to it happening due to concern that people would attempt to gather in the area.

In a written statement Chloe Martin, the FBI’s Public Affairs Officer in Anchorage, said that appropriate steps were taken to assess the material in a lab, and now that it has been destroyed, it is no longer a public safety threat.

Get in touch with the author at or 907-842-2200.

Christina McDermott began reporting for KDLG, Dillingham’s NPR member station, in March 2023. Previously, she worked with KCBX News in San Luis Obispo, California, where she focused on local news and cultural stories. She’s passionate about producing evocative, sound-rich work that informs and connects the public.