WEST HAVEN -- An old military compass possibly emitting radioactive material sparked a hazardous material response in Weber County earlier this week.
Sheriff's Lt. Mark Lowther said a man had gone to Blooms Recycling on Tuesday afternoon to drop off scrap metal. While at the recycler, the company's Geiger counter went off, indicating that something inside the vehicle was radioactive.
The company would not accept the scrap metal, so the man left, Lowther said. He ended up near West Haven Park, 3000 W. 3300 South, when he found Weber Fire officials in the area.
"They've got some equipment on their vehicles to check for radioactive material," Lowther said. "They did a preliminary scan, and called a team out of Salt Lake."
The fire department equipment also indicted that there was radioactive material, Lowther said, so officials called for a special response team from Salt Lake City. Once that team arrived, they determined the reading was coming from an old military compass that was sitting on the dashboard.
"They determined it wasn't dangerous," Lowther said. "But he turned it over for them to dispose of."
Lowther said the level of radiation was very low, but precautions were taken just in case.
After the compass was removed and placed in a metal box, the driver and the vehicle were checked and were released from the scene.
Lowther said even items found in homes can set off a radiation monitor as the compass did.
"Smoke detectors have radioactive materials in it," he said. "They can set it off with a smoke detectors at a certain point. There are lots of radioactive materials out there. This one was just enough to knock off the sensors."