Homemade Explosive Devices

As you may be aware, cites around the United States continue to be plagued by children and adults manufacturing explosive devices with common household products. They are easy to make but can be extremely harmful if you are exposed to the contents.

Commonly called "bottle bombs", "works bombs" or "MacGyver bombs," they are small and easy to make. But, they are still very dangerous.

One can be made with dry ice. This device is designed to explode and cause damage by creating a high pressure gas that overcomes its container's strength and explodes. The second is made with an acid or a caustic. It contains aluminum foil or shavings of aluminum and acid. When combined, it creates hydrogen gas and aluminum sulfate. This causes high-pressure build-up.

This device should fall under the "explosive device" code since this chemical reaction is exothermic (creates heat) and the hydrogen gas that it creates is extremely flammable.

In Virginia, manufacturing or possessing this device is a felony. They are commonly made with plastic soda bottles, ranging in size from 20 ounces to three-liter bottles. The bigger the bottle, the bigger the explosion and dispersal area of its contents.

It takes the dry ice bomb about 45 minutes to an hour to detonate, whereas the acid bombs can detonate immediately after they are made. Weather conditions and the placement of these devices such as in toilets will make this time vary. The hotter the temperature, the quicker it will detonate..

If one of these devices explodes and its contents come in contact with civilians or first responders, immediately remove any clothing, flush the person with copious amounts of water, irrigate the eyes, if necessary, and seek immediate medical attention.

These are very dangerous devices. no one except explosive ordinance disposal personnel should handle them..

Treat them as you would an explosive device made of highly volatile explosives. Isolate the area, keep back a minimum of 200 feet, and notify the proper bomb technician.