Businesses shut down during explosives dig |

Businesses shut down during explosives dig

Rex Bovee

Many business workers displaced Wednesday morning by a search for buried explosives near the Carson City Courthouse took extended coffee breaks or even played golf.

But the owner and employees of a limousine service near the excavation site just moved vehicles out of the way and maintained their posts.

“It was a voluntary evacuation, so we just moved the equipment and kept working,” owner Bob Fairman of Budget Chauffeur Drive said. “We dispatch from here so, if we had to leave, we’d have been out of business.”

While workers and residents in the area were given the option of leaving, no one could return and potential customers were not allowed into the nine-square-block vicinity of the excavation for over three hours.

Employees of Greater Nevada Credit Union, two blocks east of the dig, were walking Roop Street en masse about 10 a.m.

Accountant Michael Williams of Strong McPherson & Co., just behind the excavation site, said deputies advised people there to leave the area about 9:30 a.m.

“It sounded like a good idea, so I went and played golf,” Williams said.

That office had only a single appointment scheduled Wednesday morning.

The dental office of Dr. Gary Cordell, a block south of the dig, also remained open though many appointments had to be rescheduled.

“We didn’t get much notice and people already were on the way in, so we really couldn’t cancel them,” said a receptionist. “But then they weren’t allowed into the area anyway, so we had to reset several appointments.”

A sheriff’s detective learned only Tuesday of the possibility that explosives of the type used in mining were buried in a backyard in the 200 block of South Roop Street. Plans to evacuate the area and try to uncover the cache were formulated Tuesday afternoon.

Besides nearby businesses, several apartment complexes on South Pratt Street and South Harbin Drive were evacuated. “Probably a couple hundred people were notified,” Chief Deputy Bernie Curtis said.

He said the courthouse was not evacuated, but city employees inside were advised to stay away from windows and doorways on the south side facing the dig site.

Anthony Vilardi of the International Soundex Reunion Registry, a block east of the dig site, said the five people in the office just took a long coffee break at the Carson City Nugget after the evacuation warning.

“The ladies in the coffee shop said it was a slow day, so I think they were glad to have us there,” Vilardi said.

Deputies had told office workers the operation would be done about noon. Vilardi and Williams said they returned to their offices about 1:30 and the streets were open again. The sheriff’s office took down the barricades about 1 p.m., chief deputy Bernie Curtis said.

After the initial excavation proved fruitless, there was discussion at the scene whether it would be economically feasible to contract a search with special instruments to try to locate the rumored cache without further excavation. Whether that decision has been made is unknown.