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Windsor evacuation over alarm clock made to look like dynamite

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Talk about a false alarm.

The discovery Thursday afternoon of an electronic alarm clock made to look like sticks of dynamite inside a Windsor mobile home forced residents at a trailer park and surrounding neighborhoods to evacuate.

Firefighters responded to the Wine Country RV Park adjacent to Highway 101 at about 4 p.m. after small fires broke out at gas connections to two mobile homes.

When firefighters entered one of the homes, they saw what appeared to be three sticks of dynamite and a timer perched on a window sill inside a bedroom, leading them to quickly back out of the structure and begin ordering nearby residents to clear out.

“They were yelling at people ‘Get back! Get back!’ ” said Tony Burton, 29, who lives with his mother in a unit about four spaces down from where the apparent bomb discovery was made.

The Sonoma County sheriff’s bomb squad unit was called in, as was Henry 1, the sheriff’s helicopter. Authorities canvassed the area, evacuating residents, and weighed whether to shut down the southbound lanes of Highway 101.

The American Red Cross was brought in to assist evacuees at Windsor Creek Elementary School, which was a designated spot for people to gather.

But about an hour after the initial response, the all-clear was given. The device turned out to be Anthony Patino’s alarm clock, which the 24-year-old man fashioned several years ago from materials purchased online.

Patino, who lives at the mobile home where the device was found, was at work at a Livermore casino during the drama.

“It’s a shame I wasn’t home so I could let people know not to worry about it,” he said.

Numerous online retailers, including Amazon, sell novelty alarm clocks resembling bombs. Patino said he purchased his about five years ago. He said he’s never taken the device outside his home — nor does he use it as an alarm clock.

“It’s more of a gag,” he said.

But some in the park weren’t laughing Thursday.

“You shouldn’t be making an alarm clock that looks like a bomb. What a stupid idea,” said Burton, who was late getting to his job Thursday because he couldn’t go back to retrieve his car once he fled the park.

Patino’s grandmother, mother and sister, who also reside in the park, were apologetic for the ordeal sparked by the alarm clock, which the bomb squad took away to be destroyed.

But resident Tim Browne defended Patino, calling him a “good kid” and “hard worker.”

“He wasn’t walking around a bank with a bomb. He wasn’t on a plane,” Browne said. “It was in his home. I’ve never even seen it.”

Staff Writer Derek Moore can be reached at (707) 521-5336 or derek.moore@pressdemocrat.com. On Twitter @deadlinederek. Staff Writer Christi Warren can be reached at (707) 521-5205 or christi.warren@pressdemocrat.com. On Twitter @SeaWarren.

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