LIVINGSTON – Police detonated a vial of nitroglycerin found at Livingston High School on Wednesday and arrested the teacher alleged to be responsible for the explosives.
Livingston police evacuated the high school Wednesday morning after receiving reports that hazardous materials may have been in one of the classrooms. Police discovered a 4-milliliter vial of nitroglycerin in teacher Japhia Huhndorf’s chemistry lab.
Sgt. Ray Fong said police brought Huhndorf to the high school from her home in Atwater; with her cooperation, they were able to find the small amount of explosives in the lab.
Late in the afternoon, a bomb squad detonated the explosives in a field behind the campus.
“That’s an explosives substance, very volatile. Not really something you want to leave around,” Fong said. “It can go off with very little provocation.”
Fong said that nitroglycerin can be used to make explosives and isn’t normally found in a chemistry lab. He also said that it could have put the students at risk.
“It’s possible because nitroglycerin is a very unstable explosive that doesn’t take much, depending on how pure it is, to actually set it off,” Fong said.
Huhndorf was arrested and booked into the Merced County Jail on explosives possession charges.
This is the second time this week that Huhndorf was taken into custody. On Monday, she was arrested for child endangerment after being accused of helping three students at Livingston High School get high from chloroform.
The three students – males ages 16, 17 and 18 – told police that they either fell asleep or passed out after inhaling the chloroform during after-school study hall sessions, Fong said.
Huhndorf was out on bail when she was arrested again on Wednesday. Police say at this point they do not know why Huhndorf had nitroglycerine in her classroom.