There were some tense moments Monday morning in Gulfport. A man found a pipe bomb on the beach, and brought it to the police department's north Gulfport substation. Officers immediately called the Biloxi Bomb Squad. They had to detonate the device before it caused any damage.
The man and his wife who found the questionable pipe were cleaning a section of the west Gulfport beach. They stumbled on the device, put it in their car, and took it home. That was Sunday. A day later, the man brought the device to Gulfport police.
A collection of firefighters and ambulance technicians were quickly put on standby outside Gulfport's Community Resource Center. Chris Loposser was in charge of the scene for the Gulfport Police Department.
"There's definitely some concerns. We have a facility here that houses our communications. We have some residences in the area," he said.
And there was a chance late Monday morning they could all be in danger. The device looked like a pipe bomb. And it was inside the Highway 49 substation.
"A citizen found it in Gulfport along the beach," said Loposser.
But he didn't bring it to police until the next day. Loposser called that a mistake, saying the prudent thing to do was immediately hand it over to authorities.
As soon as Gulfport got it, police contacted the Biloxi Bomb Squad.
"The primary concern for us was to make sure we had it secured until we could have the guys here with the training equipment to deal with it," Loposser said.
Once that equipment arrived, one member of the squad put on a bomb suit. He went back and analyzed the device. Another team member strung a detonation shock cable from the pipe to Biloxi's emergency response truck. Three short siren sounds alerted rescue personnel of the impending explosion. A verbal warning came next.
"Fire in the hole. Fire in the hole. Fire in the hole," was shouted over a loud speaker.
And then a quick pop. Just like that, the device was gone.
When rescue teams went back to look at what was left, they found what they thought was gun power residue. So, ATF agents will likely analyze the remnants of the PVC pipe and determine what was inside it. John Campbell heads up the Biloxi Bomb Squad.
"This is what we train so many hours for, so we can do something like this and not have any injuries or property damage," he said.
Gulfport Police called the man who found the pipe bomb and brought it to the substation a good samaritan. They've launched an investigation to figure out why the device was on the beach.