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Explosives-laden house near Escondido set to be torched Thursday morning [updated]

December 9, 2010 |  6:55 am

Barring last-minute complications, authorities Thursday morning will set fire to the house on the outskirts of Escondido in northern San Diego County where massive amounts of bomb-making material were found.

[Updated, 10 a.m.: Authorities have shut down the nearby 1-15 Freeway and plan to remotely set the house on Via Scott ablaze at 10:30 a.m. as the San Marcos and Escondido fire departments stand by.]

La-me-bombers-house Officials hope that a fast, high-temperature blaze will destroy the dangerous materials inside without explosions and that the smoke will drift east over a largely unpopulated region.

Neighbors within 250 yards of the home were given until Wednesday night to evacuate, with deputies going door-to-door with notifications. Neighbors living farther away -- about 100 homes -- were provided instructions on how to create "shelter in place" by closing windows and doors.

Portions of nearby Interstate 15 will be closed, with the California Highway Patrol directing motorists to detours.

Meanwhile, George Jakubec, 54, the Serbian émigré and unemployed software consultant, remains in federal jail in downtown San Diego, on charges of possessing bomb-making materials and robbing three banks. He was arrested Nov. 18 after a backyard explosion injured a gardener. He has pleaded not guilty.

On Wednesday, Jakubec's lawyer failed to convince a federal judge to delay the burning so evidence could be collected from the house that could possibility help his client's defense.

Jakubec's estranged wife, who has told reporters that she feels he is mentally unbalanced, was allowed earlier this week to retrieve some belongings from the house.

A Red Cross shelter has been opened at the California State University, San Marcos campus.  Local and state air-quality and hazardous-materials specialists will monitor the fire. Once the embers cool, the debris will be removed

Judging by the size of the house and the methods being used to set it afire, officials estimate that the operation could take up to three hours before the nearby freeway can be reopened.

RELATED:

Judge rejects request to delay burning of accused bomber's home

Accused bomb-maker's attorney wants court to delay burning of home

Bomb-making suspect pleads not guilty, is ordered held without bail

-- Tony Perry in San Diego

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