[UPDATE 4:21 p.m.: One Lane Closed ]Trailer on Fire Near Salmon Creek Exit in SoHum

Smoke boiling from the vehicle.

Smoke boiling from the vehicle. [Photo from Jason Daniels]

Multiple agencies are rushing to just north of the Salmon Creek exit near Miranda after a fire broke out in a trailer being pulled by a GMC pickup at 1:09 p.m.

According to the CHP, the outside (number 2 lane is blocked) as the trailer contains “a large amount of ammunition.

There have been several explosions and fire is spreading to the vegetation.

Please remember that information gathered from initial reports is subject to revision as more facts become available.

UPDATE 1:36 p.m.: Northbound lanes are blocked and traffic is being diverted off the road at Salmon Creek, according to the CHP.

However, firefighters have kept the flames from spreading further into the vegetation. The crew from Phillipsville VFD were the first on the scene, according to Mark Swizee who was passing by. [UPDATE: We have confirmed that this was Myers Flat VFD not Phillipsville] He said that they kept the fire “from spreading and ammunition from going off.”

Swizee says this was a “trailer with lots of guns and ammo on way to gun show.”

phillipsville fire first on scene kept it fro. spreading. ammunition going off. heroes there Mark sent a few seconds ago trailer with lots of guns and ammo on way to gun show

 [Photo from Mark Swizee]

UPDATE 1:53 p.m.: The fire in the vehicle has been extinguished. Traffic is now being allowed but lanes are coned off. Please be careful in the area.

UPDATE 4:21 p.m.: All northbound lanes are open. One southbound lane is closed.

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109 comments

  • Did anyone see Walter White leaving the scene?

  • Ammunition?!!!! WTF???!!!!!!

  • Wow
    Let’s just drive around in a burning tinderbox pulling a bomb behind our truck…
    This has been a really fucked up year

    • Black Rifles Matter

      A bomb?? You drive around with Batteries which when can definitely explode. You drive around with gasoline which can explode. A guy is headed to a gun show with inventory and his trailer catches fire unfortunately and you jump to the asinine assumption that he is carrying a BOMB??
      Wow.

    • Yes, thanks to the leftist lunatics burning and looting and trashing history. THEY have f*ed up the year for real Americans.

  • What the fuck 2020 ?! U can’t make this shit up 😞

  • Bang, Bang they tried to take their weapons away.

    Not to worry. Probably a group of Second Amendment conservatives ready to take on any 50 Gov’t people who would try and take their 25 weapons and three cases of ammo away from them.

  • What gun show?? That’s shady af.

    • 2nd amendment einstein

    • exactly. all shows have been cancelled thru the year. open flea markets are going but those don’t allow guns and ammo. maybe cutting thru CA to get to AZ, but AZ has plenty of ammo, so once again this doesn’t add up. sounds like a tweaky gun nut making shit up and making bad decisions including not servicing his trailer.

  • You dipshits don’t think he was trying to save his guns/ammo from the fire originally, and was probably on his way back home?

    • If only he had a fire extinguisher. I do. Do you?
      I have watched more vehicles that could have easily been saved burn to the rims for lack of spending $25 for a fire extinguisher than I care to count 😰😞😡

      • Next time, instead of watching, why not use the extinguisher you just bragged about having?

      • We had an extinguisher. We should have had a backup. Further complicating matters, his truck was in the shop, so we had a borrowed rig. It was negligent of us to not see to it that the borrowed rig was equipped with one. We paid the price.

    • Said they were en route *to* a gunshow. So not evacuating out or returning after being evacuated. Stop making up excuses.

  • What’s the problem [edit]? Worst stuff than firearms and ammo travel on our roads every day and they don’t alarm you because you DON’T KNOW about it. I think you’re idiots reacting in such a manner.
    Caustic soda,chlorine gas cannisters, lpg (liquid propane gas) are just a few that come into Humboldt and you never knew! Back off and feel sorry for this business person who was on his way to make a living.

  • The less guns on this planet the better.

    • That’s what Xi said!

    • Lost Croat Outburst

      That’s what Fidel Castro said. The revolt against dictator Batista was fought by working-class Cubans who owned personal weapons. After Batista was defeated, Castro confiscated all the guns so nobody could overthrow HIS communist dictatorship. See how cool that is? How do I know? A friend who is not much of a gun person went to Cuba as a recent tourist and was told that story and related it to me. I have to vote against the Modern Republican Party and ghastly Trump, yet work for reasonable gun laws. I make my views known when I contribute to the Dems. It’s tough, but the nation must survive. Cali. and Mass. are about maxed out on gun regs.

      I fear that Qanon or other insane, right-wing nut-jobs will spark an armed response if Bunker Baby is defeated. Trump would love it since he cares for nothing and no one but himself.

    • the only reason no one will invade this land is, the number of people who have guns and the large number of 51491/2’s running around

    • Do you own a car? Have you ever been in a car? How about a bus? You ever ride in a bus? Or an Uber?

      So what makes it okay for millions of people to use extremely dangerous motor vehicles when a tiny minority of irresponsible a-holes, often behaving criminally, misuse them, leading to the deaths of about 40,000 people a year, but it’s not okay for millions of people to use extremely dangerous firearms because a tiny minority of irresponsible a-holes, often behaving criminally, misuse them, leading to the deaths of about 40,000 people a year?

      Care to explain that to me? Go ahead; I’m listening.

  • How did this start?

    • What started the fire? I live 2 miles from there and never heard a siren or any ammo going off.
      Thank you for all your hard work firefighters and Kym Kemp.
      May God protect all life and i pray for compassion and understanding so we all help and protect one another.

    • We’ll likely never know; the cops and the VFD piled a the debris back into the trailer before we could get a good look at it. No qualified detective (I don’t know what they call fire investigators exactly) got a look at it and now the evidence is buried.

      Hopefully I’ll get a look at the wreckage tomorrow, but I’m not an expert. My best guess is that it was electrical in nature, then spread to the various solvents and cleaners associated with the armorer’s kit.

      I can tell you there was no dirty rags (soaked with solvents), no open gas lines, and no easily identifiable source if ignition.

      You can read my commentary below for the full story. I don’t know how the fuckin’ thing started, but I’m just glad we didn’t burn down Myers Flat and that Capt Merriman and his crew were there to save the day.

  • Thank you firefighters!

  • Yes, thank you fiefighters! Way to go P’ville!!

    • Back in the day when we were doing seismic explosive work to explore what would happen to the nuke plant in a 9 earthquake, I helped unload 2000# of nitro glycerin into an abandoned gas station on the main drag in Eureka. Stacked it in a big square pile in one of the car bays. Stayed there for two days.
      We are surrounded by hazards we have no clue about. Gun powder is packaged in paper or plastic nowdays. Just burns hot. The propane tanks on the trailer were probably the biggest danger.

      • 🕯🌳Did you help them win Beirut to?

        • Closest thing to Beirut I’ve seen was the day the Baley Suit factory in Eureka blew up. Just happened to be gazing over the city from the ranch on Elk River Road. When that sucker blew it shot shit hundreds of feet in the air and made a plume that looked and sounded like a five hundred pounder had been dropped. The blast went mostly straight up, and I don’t remember there being a lot of casualties. It was the glue pot.

    • P-ville VFD is on it, way to go!

  • Can’t help but think that ammo transported in bulk for commercial purposes will result in some citations for hazmat, proper manifest, license, etc.. I don’t see proper labeling of the trailer (D.O.T placards) in the pic.

    • Under 1000 pounds of one chemical doesn’t require placards. That’s how UPS trucks drive around without them. You can have many different chemicals all 999 pounds each with no placards..

    • You have absolutely no basis for that judgement. Well, I guess your basis is hearsay and misinformation.

  • I’m well aware of the many hazards known and unpublicized that surround us. It’s the PP (precautionary principal) that appears to be forgotten, omitted or unavailable in these scenarios. Has nothing to do with anyone making an honest living or otherwise.

  • Tired or liberal's

    How did it catch fire, that is the question idiot’s, another funcker starting a fire,as if there isn’t enough fire right now

    • Ironic that someone that someone who can’t use an apostrophe correctly is calling someone else an idiot.

      Listen, [edit] we didn’t start a fire. We’re not perfect, but we did the best we could in the circumstance we faced. Our lives are pretty funcked right now. I’m glad we didn’t fuck up yours.

      We’re not bad guys. We help the elderly. We help single moms. If all you got for us is shade based on ignorance and hatred, please STFU.

  • Gunshow ? Where ? 25 guns and only 3 cases of ammo, he was understocked.

    • Well if Biden wins and you want a neo confederate rebellion, you’re gonna need:
      1 tacti-cool AR.
      2,000 rounds of ammo
      50 lb. Beans
      50 lb. Rice
      300 gal water/filtration
      20 lb.sugar
      20 lb coffee
      2 pair boots
      10 pair socks
      2 pair pants
      12 dozen adult diaper
      2 pack goat
      ..per racist
      So just sayin, better step up your game protifa.

  • Gun show in Hillsboro, Oregon on Sept 19 and 20. People need to calm down.

  • Drove past about 2:30. Two firetrucks, several cop vehicles, lots of flashing lights. Left lane one, trailer really burned out. Glad it ended with no injuries. Glad it wasn’t the start of another forest fire.

  • Hope they had insurance.

  • guess he’s glad he brought all that ammo along now… 🙁

  • It was Myers Flat volunteer fire department that was first on scene, no show from Phillipsville. I should know, I was one of them.

    • I questioned Mark about it being Phillipsville, but he was sure it was. My apologies. I feel weird asking this because I do believe you, but do you have something to confirm this?

      • Phillipsville doesn’t really have a fire dept now, just one guy, the chief. They need volunteers, c’mon Phillipsvillians, step up!

      • I’m the captain of Myers flat fire. Phillipsville. Wasn’t even called. Myers flat was first on scene, followed by Humboldt bay fire and one hand crew from ell river camp. You should actually verify your info before you post. And not post hear say. Then when some corrects you now you want proof. Why wasn’t proof necessary from the guy who didn’t know shit?

        • I know the man who provided the information. He sent photos from the scene. That isn’t hearsay. That’s a witness. He appears to have made a mistake in this instance, however. Witnesses occasionally do. (He was very complimentary to the firefighters at scene–I believe the exact quote that I didn’t use in my article is “They had big balls.”)

          I’m doing my best to confirm the information that is given to me here but the names of you and the other man who said the firefighters were from Myers Flat aren’t known to me though and are just email accounts with no photos. I want to stress that I do believe you but I’m looking for some evidence that you are correct.

          • Lost Croat Outburst

            But were their balls big enough by Ted Cruz standards? I’m guessing “ yes” by a wide, wide margin. Gonna need a wheelbarrow just to walk around. thank you firefighters, one and all.

            (I’ve gotta burn through my allotted time, Kym, before Akismet drops my data. why can’t phone scammers use that program? Since the quarantine, I’ve cut back on laundry, showers, deodorant; it really helps with social distancing when I do have to go out.)

        • I’ve confirmed with both Deb Lake and Chief Tom Mulder’s son that Aaron Merriman is the Captain. Ms. Lake confirmed that Myers Flat was at the fire. I’ve updated the post.

          Thank you for your service.

        • Because its not really a big deal. If it is super important to get credit, then send Kym a press release.
          That being said, volunteers dont get paid. So at least they should get credit for all the time training and maintaining the equipment so that they are ready in a moment to go handle YOUR emergency.

    • Thank you for your service Myers Flat volunteers!! Woot Woot!!

  • Sorry ‘Black Riffles Matters’ guy all the things you were comparing large caches of ammunition and guns going down the highway too, are things heavily regulated by the DOT and many other regulatory agencies. This was a camper that had lots of ammunition that was obviously not stored in any sort of a fire proof container, explosion proof box i.e; metal ammunition box, like the military use. Things you can buy it all military supply stores, gun shops etc. Those boxes are basically strong enough to withstand a fire, to withstand the bullets exploding, and nobody getting hurt. Sorry to call you out on your BS, but I did. I’m glad no firefighters are hurt. Thankful the hills didn’t catch fire, people didn’t lose their homes, their livelihoods, and nobody died because somebody was headed off to a gun show … Or something as dumb as that, some folks need to find a different way to get their private’s hard, other than guns. Mask up, keep yourself, your family and your neighbors safe.

    • You mean boxes like the ones pictured below? Yup, they held up to the fire just fine. My personal on is still in the hulk if the trailer, got 1000 rounds in there. Hope the damn tow company lets us in there soon.

      We did have a case of 9mm and a case of .223 in cardboard. That was a mistake. We recovered well over 3/4 of them as well. My best estimate is that between 200 and 300 rounds cooked off.

      We were allowed in right before the tow tig showed up. We pulled some stuff out. I guess we’ll see what happens.

      Thanks for your empathy.

  • Gun show? Right… Seems they’ve all been cancelled due to Covid. I call B.S.

  • this is why you service your equipment. otherwise don’t have it, your failure put everyone else in the immediate area at risk.

    • We service our equipment. Sometimes shit happens despite best practices. I’m sorry all this happened, and I’m sorry people were at risk. And I’m so so grateful for MFVFD, but we service our shit better than most.

      You have no idea what your talking about.

  • You all know that when ammo burns it doesn’t reach the same as when it is fired from a gun right ? It mere pops the bullet portion of the round barely moves as there is not enough pressure from the expanding gasses to propel it anywhere . 3 cases of ammo is less than one pound of powder which you can buy at most sporting stores that sell reloading supplies . Nothing needed other than to be 18 years old , and you can drive them home on the front seat of your Prius if you so desired . Powder used in ammo is not all that dangerous however most people commenting on here most likely have never truly been exposed to it very much other than using it already measured into rounds they are firing. Hell I reload tens of thousand of rounds each year having a drink and smoking while doing so, not dangerous in the least , worst thing that might happen is I might get burned if somehow I managed to ignite some powder and my hand was in just the right . But then again I am just used to dealing with things like that . We used to light c-4 on fire and use it to cook on, just don’t go stomping on it to put it out .

    • The rounds were flying three hit me hard but didn’t injure me and the right side of the trailer exploded throwing burning debris on me my crew and set the nearby grass on fire. It was dangerous dont try to mislead people. If I wasn’t wearing heavy structure turnouts I would be in the hospital.

      • ‘Antichrist’, like I said earlier be responsible with your guns and ammo. Lock them up in a fire safe if traveling. ‘Antichrist’, and I’m assuming ‘Blackrifflesmatter’ is ready to chime in with his/her downplaying this situation, not cool to be loose with you guns… Let’s say there wasn’t a fire, instead this camper got burglarized and the guns got stolen… We’ed be saying what a fool hauling a trailer full of guns and ammo through our community and not having them locked up in gun safes and/or fireproof boxes, and now they’re in the hands of rip-offs and whomever buys stolen guns… (Please excuse the run on sentences)

        • [edit]
          Firearms don’t need to be in fireproof containment to be “safe” (whatever that means); they just need to be unchamber (no cartridge in the chamber). A gun with a loaded magazine, but nothing in the chamber will not discharge in a fire.

          Our ammo should have been in ammo cans, as most of it was, but even when it isn’t, rounds don’t “fly” like in the movies (that’s fiction), unless they are forced down a barrel.

          As to your hypothetical rip off scenario: one reason we had so much of his collection is because we didn’t want to leave it unattended in Eureka for two weeks. We had our shipping container broken into a few months back, so we weren’t about to leave any guns in there.

          We were headed to a location where they would be as secure as is possible in 21st century America.

          You know nothing about us; were not loose with our guns, [edit]

          For the record, the only gun that was stolen from either one of us was locked in my car and locked in a fireproof (pistol) safe, that was “permanently” mounted in my trunk. The scumbags ripped the whole damn thing out. I was forced to leave it there because of cumbersome, ridiculous, unjust, and probably unconstitutional statuettes on where I could legally carry my pistol.

          [edit]

    • Ive seen a fellow blow up a can of pyrodex right in front of himself. Blew the windows out of his cabin, set it on fire, set his overalls on fire. He spent a couple months in a burn unit after getting helicoptered out.

  • They must have left something on the stove in the trailer. It happens all the time.

  • I was the passenger in the vehicle towing the trailer that caught fire today on the southbound 101. I have much to say about the nonsense in the comment section and some of the inaccuracies in the story. However, having just now finally checked into a hotel in the aftermath of this horrific incident, I find I will need to collect my thoughts and take time to choose my words. I’ll post, likely in the wee hours of Monday morning. For now, I will say that we were NOT going to a gun show. Thousands of rounds of ammunition did NOT explode. Phillipsville VFD was NOT on scene. Myers Flat VFD put the fire out. I (and another Good Samaritan on scene) personally stomped out the grass fire that threatened the community several minutes before MFVFD arrived. Thank you VFD, and thank you to the members of the community who stood with us to keep the community safe.

    Kym, I see you are asking for “proof” to correct the incorrect assertions of your source. Attached is photographic evidence in support of Captain Merriman’s testimony.

    More to come…

  • I’m the passenger from today’s fire; I was on scene from start to finish. I’ve have much to say, but I just now checked into to the hotel in the aftermath of this horrific incident. I need a shower.

    For now, here is photographic evidence of exactly which VFD was on scene. Thank you, Capt Merriman, for the heroic efforts of you and your Johnny on the spot crew.

  • I was the passenger in the vehicle towing the trailer that caught fire today. I was on scene from start to finish. I have much to say, but I am just now checking into the hotel in the aftermath of this horrific incident. I need a shower.

    For now, I will say this: we were NOT going to a gun show; thousands of rounds of ammunition did NOT explode; Phillipsville VFD was NOT on scene.

    Thank you, Capt Merriman, for you and your crews valiant efforts that were so invaluable in keeping our community safe. And thank you to the passerby who stayed on scene and helped me (me personally) stomp out (literally stomp out, with our feet) the grass fire that developed in those crucial minutes before MFVFD arrived.

    More to come…

  • Hmmmmm, it seems all three of my introductory posts have now posted. I don’t normally engage in online back and forth in comment sections, so when my pic (which, apparently, was too large in its’ original format) caused the comment engine to tell me that my post was too large, combined with me not seeing my responses posted immediately, I posted redundant statements. Oh well.

    Anyway, I intend to respond. Like I said before, I don’t typically engage in this nonsense, but I must admit, once I get started, i just might never STFU.

    So, in my next post, I’ll give the raw facts about today’s disaster. After that, some background facts I deem relevant to the discussion. Finally, my opinions on some of the complete and utter nonsense some of you commenters vomited from your ignorant and self righteous ivory towers.

    More to come …

  • Myself and a close friend, who is a highly respected firearms instructor at a reputable professional firearms academy in another state, were southbound on the 101, en route to said training institute to participate in firearms classes in which he would be an instructor and I would be a student. As such, we were traveling with multiple firearms and a cache of ammunition that some of you would consider excessive. The vast majority of the ammo was stored in military style metal ammo cans. Some of the ammo was recently purchased for use at the academy, and was thus still in its’ original packaging.

    As a relevant side note, I will say that the 4-day handgun class I was to participate in requires 600+ rounds per student, and the 4- day rifle class I was to take after that requires 300 rounds per student. So I personally had 1000 rounds of ammo, all properly stored in metal cans. My traveling companion had more ammo than me, as his students often show up inadequately prepared.

    Furthermore, as an instructor, he has multiple firearms used for demonstration, as well as “redguns” (plastic molds in the shape of actual firearms) and several air soft guns that are designed to exactly duplicate the functions of typical sidearms (with slides, triggers, magazines, and controls) with remarkable accuracy. Again, these are training tools, used in place of real firearms as appropriate (advanced classes include force on force training) To power these (expensive) training tools, he has CO2 cartridges.

    He is also an amateur gunsmith, so in the trailer there was his armourer’s kit, which contained various solvents and lubricants to service the tools of his trade.

    Additionally, there was a fire extinguisher in the trailer. Finally, there was also a “Coleman” (not actually Coleman brand) propane torch, complete with a small propane tank that was thankfully mostly used up.

    Anyway, we were southbound on 101, a few miles north of the Salmon Creek exit when we noticed heavy smoke and actual flames from the rear end of the passenger side of the trailer. I tried calling 911 right away, but had difficulty with my phone signal. We couldn’t immediately pull over safely due to the fact that there was dry vegetation less than a yard from the side of the highway (no shoulder), so we didn’t. Instead, we continued driving (for what seemed like eternity), on fire, anxiously scanning the road for an adequate pullout. Finally, about a half mile north of Salmon creek (appx mile marker 26), we were able to pull over.

    Frantically, we assessed the fire. It appeared to have started in the taillight section on the passenger side, and had already spread to engulf the rear door and the cabin section above the tires. The tires themselves had not yet ruptured, however, unfortunately, our fire extinguisher was staged on the cabin floor directly behind the rear door (for rapid access) which was engulfed in flames, tragically preventing us from accessing it. All we had at our disposal was a few gallons of drinking water and our feet. We squeezed out bottles, as did a total stranger who arrived to assist us (and you) in this dire circumstance. He had already successfully reached 911. We disconnected the propane tanks.

    We opened the front door, hoping to possibly enter to access the gallons of water within and make an attempt to extinguish the fire at its source, but this proved impossible, as we were forced to retreat.

    As we watched, powerless, flaming debris from the trailer landed on the nearby dry grass, igniting it. We were able to stomp out these flames, with the assistance of the Good Samaritan (whose name I never got; thank you so much).

    About a minute later, the first CHP unit arrived. The officer sprung quickly into action, deploying his fire extinguisher. We informed the officer right away of the potential danger of the ammunition within, still, he did his duty, regardless of the danger. (Thank you, sir)

    However, the fire had spread too much for his small device. I’m sure his efforts bought valuable minutes, so they were not in vain. A second CHP arrived, and his extinguisher similarly was only able to buy (valuable) time.

    Another community member arrived with another fire control device (water can), but we determined it would be better to save that for vegetation, instead of wasting it on the trailer; we decided to protect the community by protecting the hillside vegetation so our loss wouldn’t start a new fire for the already overburdened fire crews.

    MFVFD arrived. We similarly informed them about the ammo, but of course, they rushed the danger. They had a little bit of trouble with their hose (note the half hitch in the previous pic), and got startled by a few loud pops, but had water on the trailer about three or four minutes after getting on scene. It seemed like an eternity to us, but I think it was actually very efficient, particularly in the face of explosions within. I will note now that very few of those explosions were ammo. The Coleman detonated. Our extinguisher ruptured, likely helping douse the flames while the VFD was deploying. Cans of WD-40, Breakfree , Powderblast and such popped. It was a trying moment.

    Capt Merriman and his crew got it done. And while I have no doubt that the captain was “hit hard” three times, I don’t believe for a second he was hit by any bullets or brass associated with the ammunition. Bullets don’t “fly” unless propelled from a suitable metal cylinder (barrel of a gun). I commend the VFD for their valiant heroics in the face of danger. And I’m grateful their turnouts shielded then from the dangerous explosions caused by the solvents and fuel, but again, I do not believe for a second that any of those hits resulted from firearm propellants (gunpowder).

    The Coleman canister was doubtlessly the biggest explosion. There was also several dozen lithium batteries (for weapon mounted lights) in the armorer kit that contributed to the mayhem. The “explosions” that in fact were responsible for showering the fire crew with debris and igniting the vegetation were most likely the tires rupturing under the heat of the fire.

    All due respect, my good captain, while I do not dispute you and your crew behaved admirably and heroically in the face of considerable danger, at no point were “rounds flying”.

    The moment of crisis had passed. The firemen (and women) were dousing the wreckage. The adrenaline began to ebb and the somber reality of tens of thousands of dollars of uninsured loss began to set in.

    The fire was out, but the story was not over…

    Next: the aftermath.

    • Thank you for that very detailed explanation.

      • Yes, thank you Donovan. I personally witnessed Donovan , & this same friend, selflessly help (for the 2nd time! 1st time during the threat of the lightening fires a few days earlier), multiple ppl pack up & evacuate their SoHum homes on Wednesday. Without their goodness, we wldve had a way more stressful time readying our trailers& the few possessions we were preserving to potentially start a new life if we get burned out. They don’t deserve any negative comments. They helped an 80 yr old man& his wife, as well as a single mom and her 6 yr old child. Without them, we wldnt have managed to accomplish this exodus.
        Again, thank you Donovan & friend for going above & beyond the call of duty to help others. I hope ppl will be happy to help y’all out! I will! The world is a better place with ppl like you.

    • Compare that with what it takes to legally move a little weed around.

    • Yes, thanks for the detailed story.

    • Sorry for your loss. And props for waiting to pull safetly to the large pullout and not starting another vegetation fire

  • Thanks, D. I am sorry for your loss.

  • Entering a World of Pain

    Wondering if these are friends of kyms? Sure let them get away with alot of cursing, “stfu” and personal rebuttals involving profanity that I’ve seen censored on this site repeatedly

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