A series of incidents involving chemical-filled, pop-bottle bombs has prompted Butler County Sheriff Richard Jones to issue a warning to area residents about the danger of such devices.
Two separate incidents in Liberty Twp. this week caused property damage and posed inherent physical dangers to those who found each item, according to the sheriff’s office.
A resident on Sunday found six such devices near a home in the 5200 block of Aspen Valley Drive and collected them as discarded trash but did not suffer any chemical burns.
On Monday, the woman heard an explosion and went to the area to investigate. She found an additional chemical bomb that had gone off and brought it home to show her husband. While attempting to do so, the contents of the bottle dripped onto the floor, burning a trail in her carpet from the doorway and across the living room.
Thursday morning, another resident at a home in the 5200 block of Aspen Valley Drive found a pop-bottle bomb in his driveway and attempted to kick it to the curb line. After kicking the device, it exploded, spraying him with its acidic contents.
The man was uninjured, but his driveway and boots sustained damage.
Specialist Mike Grimes, commander of the sheriff’s office bomb unit, said as the weather warms up and teens get into mischief, it is not uncommon to find bottle bombs.
“This is the first group we have had for a while,” Grimes said. He added the location of these bombs was especially dangerous because one was located on a walking trail and within a mile of an elementary school.
Pop-bottle bombs filled with chemicals typically hold upwards of 150-pound-force per square inch. Pressure is generated inside the bottles by reacting an acid or base with a metal, in most cases.
This reaction generates heat and hydrogen gas and builds up pressure until the bottle bursts or explodes.
This explosion sends the acidic contents and shards of plastic out in every direction, potentially striking anyone in the immediate area, or about up to 10 feet, according to sheriff’s office testing.
Several of the devices recovered by the sheriff’s bomb squad in the Liberty Twp. incidents were wrapped in duct tape.
The sheriff cautions that residents who find bottles that resemble such devices should call the sheriff’s office or their local police agency to have the suspected item evaluated.
The sheriff’s office is actively reviewing forensic evidence collected in this week’s incidents to identify suspects. Any suspect identified will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law, he said.
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