Claim: Plastic soda bottles left in unsuspecting residents' yards may be bottle bombs.
Example: [Collected via e-mail, April 2010]
A "Works" Bomb is Drain-o and Tin Foil, mixed together inside of a bottle. The chemical reaction between the
The amount of force that is generated at the time of the explosion is enough to severe fingers and also deliver 2nd and
**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 precautions.
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
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: "Bottle bombs" (also commonly known as "Drano bombs" or "works bombs") are not a new phenomenon; they've been a favorite of youthful pranksters for decades, as their construction requires only a few ordinary, commonly available components: plastic soda bottles, aluminum foil, and Drano (or other brand of household drain or toilet cleaner). In general, one need simply push some aluminum foil balls into a plastic bottle, add some Drano, and screw the cap tightly onto the bottle. The combination of the hydrogen chloride or sodium hydroxide in the fluid and the aluminum foil creates a strong chemical reaction which releases hydrogen gas; when that gas builds up to sufficient pressure, it ruptures the side of the plastic bottle, releasing the contents in an explosive burst:
Although the force of pressure-based bottle bombs may seem small when compared to other types of explosives (such as gunpowder-based ones), any form of explosive has the potential to cause serious injury, and since bottle bombs have no conventional fuse they can be dangerously unpredictable, exploding earlier or later than their wielders expect. (Aluminum foil is typically coated with a layer of wax, so it can take up to ten minutes or so for the fluid to strip away the wax and react with the aluminum foil,
The above-quoted e-mail warning about neighborhood residents discovering undetonated bottle bombs in their yards was sent out by Washtenaw County Sheriff's Deputy Keith Mansell in April 2010 after he discovered two Drano bombs left in the yards of residents of York Township, Michigan. For the most part, those who concoct bottle bombs mix the ingredients, immediately set their work aside, and stand back to watch it explode within a minute or two. However, there are ways of delaying the mixture and/or reaction of the ingredients so as to cause a delayed detonation, so those who discover objects that appear to be bottle bombs should refrain from handling them and contact authorities for removal.
At about the same time as Deputy Mansell's warning hit the Internet, the town of Methuen, Massachusetts, experienced a rash of similar plastic-bottle bomb placements, including two that blew apart mailboxes:
[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."
A caller reported the bomb, which was under the covered play structure, to 911.
The OSP bomb squad arrived, detonated the bottle and seized it as evidence. The bottle has been sent to the Oregon State Police Crime Lab for testing.
She also reported seeing three teenage males wearing dark clothing fleeing from her house.
When officers arrived on the scene, they found the remnants of chemical bombs in melted two-liter pop bottles.
The bomb squad was then called, according to Wichita police
“This is a serious crime and anybody near it could be injured,” he said.
Police warn that these devices are extremely dangerous. So far, no one has been hurt but they say it's only a matter of time.
The incidents have taken place in the Hunter's Ridge, Christalee Acres and Oakbrook Chase Estates neighborhoods.
The most recent incident happened at the intersection of Oakbrook Boulevard and Adams Way. Police found two pop bottle bombs and disposed of them safely. They say there are no witnesses.
This investigation began on December 13th of last year. Since then, police have found several of these devices and the Dayton Bomb Squad has been called to detonate some of them.
If you find a similar device, you're asked to call
Kirk, Bill. "Mailbox Bomb Attempts Spur $5K Reward Offer." [North Andover] Eagle-Tribune. 24 April 2010. Nash, Amalie. "Police Warn of Pop Bottle Bombs Left in Yards in York Township." AnnArbor.com. 18 April 2010. Sprague, Jackie. "Bottle Bombs Growing Problem for Police." WDTN-TV [Dayton, OH]. 9 February 2013. Tanner, Beccy. "Woman Hears Explosions; Police Find Pop-Bottle Bombs." Wichita Eagle. 17 February 2013. [Albany] Democrat-Herald. "Bottle Bomb Discovered at Periwinkle." 20 February 2013.