DRACUT -- State police detonated unknown chemicals late Saturday that were brought to the town's hazardous-waste collection day by a resident.

The materials, a mix of liquids, powdered and other materials, were stored in about 100 jars, Fire Deputy Rich Patterson said. The materials were about 20 years old, and over that time, they could have become unsafe, he said.

"We can't afford to take the chance," Patterson said.

Police sent out an automated call townwide on Saturday morning to tell residents there could be a "controlled explosion."

Patterson said Saturday night the State Police Bomb Squad neutralized the chemicals, and public-safety responders cleared the area just before 7 p.m.

The collection, scheduled for the DPW facility on Hildreth Street, usually includes old batteries, stains, tires or mercury thermometers, Patterson said.

He said the collection is meant for the safe disposal of materials that could be harmful.

"The homeowner did exactly what he was supposed to do," he said.

The man who brought the materials, who asked not to be identified by The Sun, said the bottles had been in his shed for about 20 years. He was cleaning out the shed, so he took the bottles to the town collection, but he wasn't sure what they were.

"That's the last time I try to do something nice," he said with a slight laugh, adding that he felt badly.

Follow Grant Welker at