Time Bomb: 19 Tons of Dangerous White Phosphorus Found Stored Inappropriately Near Homes and Schools

A terrifying potential disaster was looming in the town of Rajhrad in the Brno region, as 19 tons of highly dangerous white phosphorus were found stored inappropriately in a shelter located near a middle school, a railway station, and family homes. This situation could be aptly described as a ticking time bomb, with devastating consequences had the substance leaked into the surrounding area.

The phosphorus was part of a business transaction conducted in 2020 by Rudolf Mazánek and Jan Chovanec, who then passed the substance onto Petr Jaroš. Despite being aware of what he accepted in the two hundred barrels, Jaroš reportedly placed them in a completely unsuitable location within regular construction.

The substance came to the attention of Jan Vrána, a police officer from the Vyškov economic crime unit, due to Mazánek’s and Chovanec’s attempts to get cheaply rid of the phosphorus instead of disposing it properly. The men allegedly gave the substance to two waste-processing companies without disclosing what it was.

In both instances, the phosphorus started to burn. “The employees were endangered, and other people in the vicinity could have been endangered too,” the state attorney described. Burning white phosphorus cannot be extinguished with water, is toxic, and causes extreme burns.

After the mentioned incident, when the phosphorus started to burn, Vrána was on the men’s trail. “Thanks to his intervention and cooperation with the firefighters in the Rajhrad area in the city center, a tragedy did not occur. During the last barrels’ delivery, several of them tipped over. It was only a matter of time before the phosphorus would catch fire and cause a chain reaction,” a source familiar with the case described.

A total of twelve million crowns, the cost of phosphorous disposal, is being demanded by the police from the defendants and the two companies they were operating in. They now face charges in court for public endangerment and other criminal offenses. After the indictment was read, the defendants requested time to arrange a possible agreement on guilt and punishment with the state attorney. The court complied with their request and adjourned the proceedings until mid-December.