By AMY LINDBLOM
A homemade bomb exploded late last night behind the Twain Harte Post Office on Fuller Road.
No one was injured, but the bomb sent shrapnel into the right side of the building and into the parking lot and street.
Tuolumne County Sheriff's Sgt. Bob Bogolea said Deputy Phillip Halencak was at the Twain Harte 7-Eleven store at 11:55 p.m., when he heard a "loud explosion" and immediately began searching the area.
A crew stationed at the California Department of Forestry station about 100 yards from the post office helped Halencak, and they quickly concluded the explosion had come from the post office.
The device was exploded near the rear or right side of the building, said CDF Capt. Dan Ulvevadet this morning.
"It definitely woke some people up," Ulvevadet said. "It was really loud."
Noreen Bryant, who lives four blocks to the north on Cresta Drive, said she was startled awake.
"My first thought was it might be fireworks, but it was too loud and too deep to be fireworks," Bryant said.
Because of the darkness, the full extent of the damage to the building could not be determined. However, the post office building and parking lot were cordoned off and investigators from the state FBI, Alcohol Firearm and Tobacco, Tuolumne County Sheriff's Department and the Calaveras County Hazardous Material Bomb squad began a detailed search of the area this morning.
Tuolumne County does not have a bomb squad.
By 7:30 a.m. today, 26 chalked circles were drawn around pieces of debris.
Bogolea would not comment on the type of device used or say if the explosion could be related to three pipe-bomb explosions early last week, one in Calaveras County.
He did confirm the sheriff's department wants to talk to four people seen driving a vehicle in the area moments before the explosion. Bogolea would not give a description of the vehicle.