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Barrie police detonate homemade explosives; evacuation order still in effect

Close to 60 residents of 22 evacuated homes in Barrie likely won’t be able to return until Saturday after explosives were found in a north-end home on Thursday afternoon, police tell 680News.

Eight explosive devices found inside the Virgilwood Crescent residence, near Cundles Road and St. Vincent Street, were detonated Friday.

A bomb robot equipped with a camera and sensor was deployed to help the explosive disposal unit.

Police say various chemicals and hidden bunkers were also found inside the house.

Barrie police found the explosives while executing a search warrant at the home as part of their investigation into a cold case — the September 1978 murder of Michael Traynor, 26. His remains were discovered just north of the city, in Springwater Township, weeks later.

A father and son — Donald Feldhoff, 54, and William Feldhoff, 74, were arrested Thursday. The son is facing a first-degree murder charge and the father, accessory after the fact. They appeared in a Barrie court on Thursday.

Police say they are treating the alleged murder and discovery of explosives as two separate cases.

“There’s no indication that any evidence inside the residence is linked to the 1978 murder of Michael Traynor,” OPP Det. Insp. Martin Graham said at a press conference.

Barrie police Staff Sgt. Norm Meech said a bunker that ran at least 4.5 metres long and more than two metres deep was discovered, along with a second, smaller bunker under the back deck.

Meech said residents would only be allowed back once their safety was assured.

“There are wires around. that’s why we have to proceed so slowly,” he said. “We understand we are inconveniencing the neighbourhood, but public safety is paramount. We will take our time and we will ensure there’s no danger at this residence before we allow neighbours back in.”

With files from The Canadian Press