Steamboat Springs The Oak Creek Police Department is pursuing multiple leads to determine who set off homemade bottle bombs around town Monday, but no suspects have been identified.
Police and firefighters on Tuesday and Wednesday were called to dispose of the remains of four detonated bottle bombs that were found at a business and three residences in Oak Creek.
Oak Creek Fire Protection District Chief Chuck Wisecup said Wednesday that the devices were plastic bottles filled with aluminum foil and a cleaning agent thought to be toilet bowl cleaner. When the two ingredients combine, they cause the bottle to explode and leave behind chemicals and fumes Wisecup said it can cause burns, respiratory problems and blindness.
The fire department is encouraging anyone who finds one of the devices to avoid them and to call 911 because the detonated remains can be dangerous.
The bombs did not cause any property damage or injuries.
In a news release, officer Ed Corriveau said authorities have determined the devices were set off Monday night.
He said witnesses “reported hearing sounds similar to gunshots or firecrackers in the areas where the devices were deployed.”
The first bomb was found Tuesday morning in the parking lot of Rachel’s Smokin’ BBQ and Cafe. Owner Rachel Green said her adult daughter found the detonated bottle and touched it with her foot not knowing what it was. She said it appears the detonated device left behind an acid because a liquid ate through her daughter’s sock but didn’t cause any injury.
“It's a nasty substance,” Green said. “If she would have picked it up, she would have been in trouble.”
Wisecup said the homemade bombs in Oak Creek are similar to ones deployed in Hayden years ago that injured a police officer.
In August 2007, 12 to 14 mangled, plastic bottles were found throughout Hayden. Like the bottles found in Oak Creek, they appeared to have been remnants of homemade acid bombs, which explode when a common cleaning agent is sealed inside a plastic bottle with aluminum foil. The reaction leaves behind poisonous hydrochloric acid fumes.
A Hayden police officer who responded to the scene of the exploding devices inhaled those fumes and was diagnosed with chemical bronchitis.
Two 19-year-old former Hayden residents eventually were charged for detonating the devices.
To reach Scott Franz, call 970-871-4210 or email scottfranz@SteamboatToday.com