Thursday Afternoon Explosion in Rico Closes Main Street
by Marta Tarbell
Jul 08, 2011 | 3799 views | 0 0 comments | 13 13 recommendations | email to a friend | print
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The scene in Rico on the evening and afternoon of Thursday, July 7. (Photo by Brett Schreckengost.)
RICO – “Welcome to the real world, Rico!” said Rico resident Eamonn O'Hara Thursday night, after police reopened the portion of Highway 145 running through the tiny town halfway between Cortez and Telluride, following a three-hour closure.

That portion of the highway, which doubles as Rico's main street, was closed after a late-afternoon explosion at a Commercial St. residence of Douglas Markey, 56, one block behind the Rico Hotel.

“Markey sustained injuries to his hand while detonating [a] homemade improvised explosive,” according to a press release issued by the Dolores County Sheriff's Office Friday morning.

After the explosion, Markey was able to drive from his residence to Mountaintop Fuel and Market, and was transported by Air Care to Mercy Medical Hospital, in Durango.

Officials, concerned by reports of “numerous explosive devices in the victim's vehicle,” a black truck parked parked outside the gas station/convenience store, its windows blown out in the explosion, called in a Farmington, NM, bomb squad to remove the explosive devices from the vehicle.

Using a robot, squad members removed similar explosive devices from a Rico residence, as well, and investigated liquids in barrels in front of the home, as well.

Markey has a criminal history “involving incendiary devices, including possession of explosive devices,” according to the sheriff's office press release.

“The incident was determined to not be an intentional threat to society,” it further stated.

Markey is believed to live in Hobbs, NM; the devices “were thought to be manufactured in New Mexico and transported to the Rico area,” where he was attending a family gathering.

Sheriff's officers were joined by members of the Rico Fire and Rescue and Colorado State Patrol in responding to the incident.

Sheriff's officers are a one-hour drive from home-rule municipality Rico, which registered 205 residents in the 2000 census; about 13.2 percent of those families live below the poverty line, with a per capita income of $21,920.
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