South Jordan says alleged bomb-maker’s house is a ‘literal minefield,’ calls for it to be demolished

The city’s lawsuit says there is no way to know whether more of a highly explosive substance is still in the house.

(Photo courtesy of Salt Lake County jail) Ryan McManigal was arrested in July 2020 and charged with attempted murder and use of a weapon of mass destruction after a standoff with police outside his South Jordan home.

The city of South Jordan is suing a man who was arrested last summer after allegedly stockpiling explosives in his home, saying the house is dangerous and needs to be torn down.

“The McManigal House is and will remain a literal minefield until the structure is demolished,” reads a complaint filed Tuesday.

Ryan Lynn McManigal, who is currently incarcerated, was arrested in July 2020 and charged with attempted murder and use of a weapon of mass destruction after a standoff with police outside his South Jordan home. When police arrived, he fired a gun at officers in an armored vehicle. After he surrendered, police found 20 pounds of explosives in the house.

Bomb experts removed what they could of the explosive substance, identified as triacetone triperoxide, or TATP, but some of it stored in the basement could not be safely removed. Authorities evacuated about 600 surrounding homes and 30 businesses, then a bomb squad detonated the material.

The force from the detonation was so strong that it lifted the first floor of the house several inches off its foundation, according to the complaint.

The house made the news a second time in October when a man making repairs at the house triggered an explosion and was injured. The lawsuit says the person who was injured may have accidentally detonated TATP that wasn’t consumed by the explosion that bomb experts set off over the summer.

Now, the city is alleging that the home still contained residual explosives and is unsafe. It wants the house declared to be a public and private nuisance so that it can be torn down and burned. The city then wants to dig out the site of the house, refill it and clean up the area.

The principal safety concern is that there might still be TATP in the home. When McManigal was arrested, a bomb expert told police that TATP is highly unstable and has a 1,000-foot explosion radius.

One gram of TATP is enough to injure a person, according to the lawsuit.

“The amount of TATP found in the McManigal House could be calculated in the scores of kilograms: an amount sufficient to entirely demolish the McManigal House and severely damage if not flatten most of his neighbor’s homes as well,” the lawsuit states.

TATP is most unstable in its solid form, according to the lawsuit. The TATP that was detonated over the summer was in liquid form. The lawsuit says some of the liquid TATP may have solidified in the months after the explosion. When the man came into the house in October, he might have stepped on crystalized TATP.

The lawsuit says there is no way to know whether there is more TATP in the house.

“Liquid TATP that has crystalized and destabilized may have splashed on the walls or ceiling, seeped into and under the carpet, leached through the drywall, cracks or joints, or may have been washed or poured down any one of the several drains in the home,” reads the lawsuit. “There is no reliable and safe way to detect much less ameliorate the TATP that remains in the McManigal House.”

Some of McManigal’s family members started returning to the house after his arrest to make repairs without seeking court approval, according to the lawsuit. But any sort of repair or construction work, even putting a nail in a wall to hang a photo, could be deadly, the complaint states.

In order to safely deal with the house, the city says it must be torn down and burned.

Freedom Mortgage Corporation, the lender for the house, has joined the city in its suit. Together the two entities want McManigal to pay for the cost of dealing with the house. They are also suing Freedom Bridge Investments LLC because McManigal allegedly transferred the house’s title to that business, whose members the lawsuit says might include his family members.

Police originally began investigating McManigal after he made threatening calls to a local restaurant. They discovered that he had guns and explosives, which he was not legally allowed to have because of a protective order filed against him. The lawsuit says it is rare for protective orders to include bombs.