Bomb Technicians React to Centre County Incident

By Mallory Lane

Published 08/06 2014 05:04PM

Updated 08/06 2014 05:42PM

FERGUSON TOWNSHIP, CENTRE COUNTY - 53 year-old Frederick Rice, from Harrisburg, remains in jail Wednesday, after police said he wanted to settle a score by building a bomb to kill his wife's alleged lover.

It was a tense few hours in Ferguson Township, Centre County Tuesday afternoon as a bomb squad dismantled the pipe bomb.

Lt. Matthew White has been a certified bomb technician for six years. Tuesday was a first for him.

It's not unusual for Lt. White to respond to bomb threats, it's part of his job description. So far in Centre County, those calls have turned up empty, until Tuesday.

"It's almost like we plan for the worst and hope for the best," White said. "The potential is always there for something to happen."

White was one of three men in charge of dismantling the pipe bomb Rice told police he built to kill the man his wife was having an affair with, by blowing up his vehicle.

"Really, you don't worry about too much other than what the next step is," White said. "In the case yesterday, we identified and made sure we actually had one, because we had just previously had a threat. Then, once we had it, you fall back on your training and it's not a very difficult thing to do if you've been trained to do it."

According to court documents, Rice filled a pipe with black gun powder and placed it in the front passenger floor of his car and left the remote control device for it in the center console.

The pipe was sealed on both ends and wrapped in electrical tape with wires underneath.

"It had a little bit more thought behind it than the ones we usually see," White said.

White said a device like that one is capable of completely destroying a vehicle by tearing through the floor and roof if it exploded inside.

"We had contingency plans in place that if something didn't go the way we planned, people would have been safe and we would have been able to still gather evidence and protect property," he said.

There are 12 bomb squads in Pennsylvania.

White is part of one of the only squads in Central PA. He was the only one from the Penn State Bomb Squad to respond. Two other technicians from the State Police squad joined him.

Bomb suspect Rice is in jail on $500,000 bail.

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