Homemade bombs upset chief

Hayden police chief Birch: 'This went way beyond a prank'



Bottle bombs

Hayden Police Chief Ray Birch talks does not consider "bottle bombs" exploded in Hayden on Friday a prank.

Hayden Police Chief Ray Birch talks does not consider "bottle bombs" exploded in Hayden on Friday a prank.

— Hayden Police Chief Ray Birch said Tuesday that those who set off crude, homemade bombs last week in the town are fortunate they did not cause more damage.

One officer was injured in the incident, which happened Friday morning in Hayden. A similar incident occurred in Steamboat Springs on Friday, but authorities said they don't have evidence that the incidents are related at this point.

"This goes way beyond a prank," Birch said. "This is malicious."

Hayden authorities have identified two adult suspects, and Birch said a case is being prepared for submission to the district attorney. Steamboat Springs Police Capt. Joel Rae would not comment on possible suspects while the Steamboat case is pending.

Early Friday in Hayden, several residents throughout town called to report gunshots. Officers determined the sounds were not gunshots, but explosions consistent with some type of large firework. Then the officers began finding numerous mangled plastic bottles throughout town that were emitting fumes.

While collecting the bottles, Officer Darin Falk was overcome by the fumes and taken by ambulance to Yampa Valley Medical Center in Steamboat for treatment and observation.

Birch said Falk's symptoms included weakness, severe difficulty breathing, coughing, choking and inflammation of his nose, throat and upper respiratory tract. Falk was diagnosed with chemical bronchitis and has been released.

Birch said 12 to 14 of the bottles were eventually found and collected. They appear to be the remnants of homemade "acid bombs," which explode when hydrogen chloride, a common cleaning agent, is sealed inside a plastic bottle with aluminum foil, creating a violent chemical reaction that explodes the bottle. Poisonous hydrochloric acid fumes are left over.

Birch said the bombs are very dangerous and could result in injuries such as the loss of a finger, irreversible eye damage and possibly death.

Three similar explosions occurred at 10:45 p.m. Friday near 10th Street and Lincoln Avenue in Steamboat. Rae said a police officer heard explosions in the area and found evidence similar to that found in Hayden.

Rae mentioned dry ice in addition to the acid bomb ingredients, which would suggest the additional use of a separate kind of homemade bomb, a "dry ice bomb." Dry ice bombs also involve a chemical reaction inside a plastic bottle, but dry ice is the only necessary ingredient, with the possible addition of water to speed the reaction.

According to The First Responder's Field Guide to Hazmat and Terrorism Emergency Response, acid bombs detonate about 30 seconds after the foil and hydrogen chloride are combined and sealed inside the bottle. Dry ice bombs are much less consistent and could detonate after 30 seconds or 30 minutes.

"That's probably the scariest thing," Rae said, noting that there would be no way for those detonating the bombs and running away to prevent people from entering the area. "Fortunately to our knowledge, no one was injured."

Rae said no Steamboat officers showed adverse effects after investigating the explosions.

Costs related to Falk's health care, contamination of his patrol car and the need to call in a Moffat County hazardous materials team for cleanup could end up costing the town of Hayden thousands of dollars, Birch said. Falk's injuries also left the department a man down for several days.

"Think about how that impacts a small department," Birch said. "It impacts the service you can provide to the community."

While still in pain, Falk was expected to return to work Tuesday afternoon and make a full recovery.

The incident in Hayden and the one in Steamboat are being investigated separately by the two police departments. Birch said state Homeland Security officials were told about the case, but as of yet the Colorado Bureau of Investigation is not involved in the investigation, nor any other state or federal agencies.

Sgt. Gordon Booco is the lead investigator of the case in Hayden. Booco said Hayden police are working with Steamboat police, but that there is no link yet between the incidents.


dimwitiguess 9 years, 8 months ago

Why would you include the information on how these "bombs" were made? I guess youngsters made these? Either way, now those who just want to see for themselves and create a little excitement have the necessary information to do so. Too bad. A comment that they were made with easily found materials in the home would have been enough, wouldn't it? Who am I to question the article's details - I'm just a dimwitiguess.


AMC 9 years, 8 months ago

"Why would you include the information on how these "bombs" were made?"

Because it doesn't matter - That information is all to readily available:



housepoor 9 years, 8 months ago

The info is out there but you had to go looking for it, it wasn't on the front page of a free newspaper.


AMC 9 years, 8 months ago

"The info is out there but you had to go looking for it"

Actually, I already knew from my time as a teenager.

Poll some 12 to 16 year-olds and you'll likely find that 75% to 85% of them already possess this knowledge.


animalfarm 9 years, 8 months ago

Hayden authorities have identified two adult suspects,

Correct me if I'm wrong, but I believe the word they used is ADULT.


jlkar 9 years, 8 months ago

That is because to be an "adult" you only need to have breathed 18 years.


1234 9 years, 8 months ago

as usual birch and the newspaper put way to much drama in to this story mostly lies and a bunch of bs these are kids for crying out loud they did something stupid but didnt want to hurt anyone and yes these are young kids and believe me talking from experience he does put way to much drama`into everything and lies alot oh and birch good job telling all the kids how to build a bomb go rambo


DirectRoutt 9 years, 8 months ago

Malicious? Even a megalomaniac like Birch should avoid using words he can barely spell. I doubt those two had any more intent of harming people than Birch did of looking like a portentous dolt perched atop Mr. Ed during Hayden Daze. Both were just byproducts of stupid decisions. I just pray this won't divert time away from his campaign to recognize felonious paddling as a capital crime. Rae had his 15 minutes with Kobe and and extra 5 with the Montana molester. Go back to L.A. or Iraq where real criminals are committing real acts of terror. This little pond will survive without its big fish.


dimwitiguess 9 years, 8 months ago

I guess I don't go on the internet to fnd out how to make bombs of any kind. Sorry, AMC if I'm not as worldly as you. These things can be made by anyone, but now ANYONE who can read (for sure most 8 year olds) and has any curiosity at all can try this "trick." We (I'll say I) have done stupid things in my life never imagining hurting myself or others. Most kids who try this would do it out of curiosity and excitement. I've seen people blow up acetelene gas too - as an adult. Why did we do it? Excitement and curiosity - not to hurt anyone, yet I wouldn't want my son to view how it was done. There are enough dangerous things in life already. But then again, i'm just a dimwitiguess.


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