Good morning to you all. I want to
make you aware of a recent incident that occurred this morning in York
Twp. This type of incident directly affects your safety as well as your
children's safety. This morning, at approximately 8:00 am, I was
dispatched to an address, on Bemis Rd near the Saline City Limits, for
an unexploded pop bottle bomb. When I arrived, I noticed a 20 ounce pop
bottle, on the ground, in the callers front yard. After I inspected it
closer, I determined that it was in fact a "Works" Bomb. I was able to
clear the device away from the house and once I moved it, it detonated
itself within 30 seconds. After leaving that house, I checked other
yards in the area during my patrols. I located a second one, just a few
doors down from the first one. As I took care of the
disposal/detonation, the homeowner came out and asked me what it was.
When I showed her what it was, she immediately told me that she saw the
bottle and that she had planned on picking it up when she got her
morning paper. Like the first one, once I moved it, it detonated in
short order. There was a high probability that this would have detonated
in her hand/face while she carried it to the trash.
A "Works" Bomb is Drain-o and Tin
Foil, mixed together inside of a bottle. The chemical reaction between
the Drain-o and the Tin Foil makes a volatile build up of gases and
subsequently detonates the bottle with a great amount of force. Once the
detonation occurs, the chemical substance that is in the bottle is
actually boiling liquid.
The amount of force that is generated
at the time of the explosion is enough to severe fingers and also
deliver 2nd and 3rd degree chemical burns to the victim. The chemicals
can possibly cause blindness and the toxic fumes can be harmful.
**SAFETY**SAFETY**SAFETY***..........When you are out and about in your
yards, please be mindful of these devices. If your picking up your
morning paper, or mowing your grass, or if you let your children out to
play; whatever your activities are, please use the following
1) If you find a soda bottle or any
other bottles, examine it carefully before you touch it or get near it.
If it shows signs of swelling, or melting in any way, DO NOT TOUCH IT!
Call 911 and let us respond to take care of it.
2) If you find a soda bottle that has
any liquid in it, DO NOT TOUCH IT! Call 911 and let us respond to check
it / dispose of it.
Both bombs this morning appeared to be
slightly swollen, with a dark colored liquid, inside of it. This liquid
could have easily been mistaken for left over soda.
I know that calling 911 for a soda
bottle may sound silly or like a misuse of your Police protection but
trust me, it is not. You do not want one of these devices detonating in
your hand or your children's hands or in your pets face. We are here to
incur the danger for you so that you are and
your loved ones are not harmed. So please check your yard thoroughly
before letting your children out to play and be mindful before you just
deem that soda bottle as garbage and pick it up.
In closing, please educate your
children on the dangers and consequences of making these devices. It has
become popular with the youth in the past few years, to do this as a
prank, but there have been some changes to the law. Not only could it be
deadly to the maker or the victim, but making one these devices is
called, "Possession of a Substance with Explosive Capabilities". If it
causes no damage, its a 15 year Felony. If it causes damage, its a 20
year Felony. If it causes physical injury, its a 25 year Felony. If it
causes serious injury, the penalty can be "Up to life", and if it causes
death, its Mandatory Life without the possibility of Parole. These are
statutory guidelines only. These penalties are what could be imposed but
it does not necessarily mean that these penalties would be imposed.
If you have any questions or concerns,
please do not hesitate to call me or send me an email. Please be safe
and have a great day.
Origins: The above-quoted e-mail was a
warning sent out by Washtenaw County Sheriff's Deputy Keith Mansell in
April 2010 after he discovered two Drano (or "works") bombs left in the
yards of residents of York Township, Michigan. As shown in the video
below, these concoctions of Drano brand drain cleaner (i.e., sodium
hydroxide), water, and aluminum foil in plastic bottles can indeed
produce quite dangerous explosions:
At about the same time, the town of
Methuen, Massachusetts, experienced a rash of similar plastic-bottle
bomb placements, including two that blew apart mailboxes:
A rash of homemade plastic-bottle bombs used to blow up mailboxes has
prompted arson investigators and the state police fire marshal's office
to offer up to a $5,000 reward for information leading to the conviction
of anyone responsible for making and setting off the incendiary devices.
[Methuen police arson investigator
Matt] Bistany said [a plastic bottle a resident discovered sticking out
the front of her mailbox] is at least the third device of its kind found
in the neighborhood in the last few weeks, although in the two other
cases, the bombs actually succeeded in blowing apart the mailboxes.
Barry said the bombs, made up of
typical household chemicals poured into plastic bottles and then sealed
shut with the cap, can be very powerful.
"We take these very seriously," he
said. "Kids have lost their fingers and had their faces injured from
these things. It's very serious."