Authorities have gathered at the Napa County Fairgrounds in Calistoga this morning to fine-tune plans for the disposal of a volatile substance that was discovered there on Monday.

Calistoga police said a case of ether was found during a hazardous materials collection event at the fairgrounds, and the Napa County bomb squad was called in.

Police called the ether "highly explosive" and said an evacuation would be carried out around 8 a.m. today to allow authorities to safely dispose of the substance.

"The only way to get rid of it is to detonate it," Napa County sheriff's Capt. Tracey Stuart said.

As of 8:30 a.m., the evacuation had not yet started and exact plans for the disposal were still being discussed, she said.

Stuart said the ether had been stored at the fairgrounds for decades, and was originally part of a 1950s-era mobile medical surgical unit containing disaster supplies.

The ether was brought out to be disposed of during the hazardous materials collection event, but authorities determined it was too dangerous to transport, she said.

The fairgrounds have been shut down since Monday, Calistoga Fire Department engineer Jason Tamagni said.

"It's pretty volatile," he said of the ether.



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