Escondido explosion investigation: “Today was only phase one!”

ESCONDIDO (CNS/KUSI) – A stretch of southbound Interstate 15 in the North County was closed for about three hours today as part of an investigation into a nearby explosion that sent one man to a hospital and another to jail. A gardener suffered non-life-threatening injuries in the blast that occurred behind a home in the 1900 block of Via Scott in unincorporated Escondido about 1 p.m. Thursday.

The precise nature of the explosion remained unclear this afternoon, though a resident of the house, George Djura Jakubec, 54, was arrested on suspicion of illegally manufacturing and possessing explosives.

The 49-year-old victim of the detonation apparently inadvertently triggered the blast by stepping on some type of makeshift device while working behind Jakubec's house, authorities said.

Neighbors said they had heard other explosions in the neighborhood on prior occasions.

Homes near Jakubec's were evacuated and were likely to remain empty until sometime this afternoon.

Late this morning, the southbound lanes of I-15 were shut down between El Norte and Centre City parkways to allow a bomb squad to safely detonate explosive materials found on the suspect's property. Traffic soon slowed to a crawl for miles to the north.

Sheriff's officials sent out a “reverse 911” telephone message through the surrounding area, warning residents about the impending controlled explosions, department spokeswoman Jan Caldwell said.

By 2:30 p.m., the hazardous contraband had been blown up and the freeway was being reopened.

Sheriff's Department Public Affairs Officer Jan Caldwell KUSI's Ed Lenderman that today was only phase one in the investigation, they had to secure the backyard before entering the house where they believe there are more, simular explosives.

Jakubec was booked on suspicion of possession of an explosive device with intent to injure or intimidate, making a destructive device without a permit, possession of a destructive device and unlawful possession of an explosive.

Bail was set at $100,000 for Jakubec, who was scheduled to make his first court appearance Monday afternoon.

Categories: KUSI