Explosions on northwest side? Don't worry it's just training - Tucson News Now

Explosions on northwest side? Don't worry it's just training

(Source: Tucson News Now) (Source: Tucson News Now)
MARANA, AZ (Tucson News Now) -

You may have heard explosions on the northwest side of Tucson on Wednesday.

It's one of the largest bomb squad exercises in the country and it's happening right now in Arizona. 

The Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives is partnering with the U.S. Army Explosive Ordnance experts as part of the weeklong Raven’s Challenge at Pinal Air Park in Marana.

Military bomb squad experts are in town helping local authorities train on how to react if Pima County ever has to deal with terrorist attacks, explosions or hostage situations.

Real explosives are being used in the training, which will run through Friday, March 24.

The Tucson Police Department, Pima County Sheriff's Deputies and Arizona DPS are all taking part the Raven's Challenge.

Organizers said the practice is vital preparation in case a worst-case scenario happens.

Teams practiced two scenarios Wednesday. In the first scenario, bomb techs had to analyze airport luggage after TSA screeners detected a suspicious item inside.

Scott Ingbretsen, as TSA bomb tech, said airports will reserve an area for suspicious items to be moved so explosives experts can use their tools to get a look inside. 

“So you use as small amount of explosives to stop a bigger amount of explosives from going off,” Ingbretsen said.

The second scenario had bomb experts demonstrating the power of different types and amounts of explosives, including the force of a commercial bomb compared to homemade explosives, a growing problem for bomb squads across the country.

“From remote locations, things flying, all this technology is available,” said Michael Newell of the U.S. Army who trained with colleagues on stopping an explosive device carried by a drone.

The Raven’s Challenge training event happens in five states, including Arizona, and includes region-specific training scenarios.

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