UI facilities find dangerous devices
Three homemade devices made in plastic soda bottles capable of exploding and causing minimal harm were found inside a garbage and recycling receptacle on the south end of the University of Idaho Wallace Complex Monday morning.
Fred Hutchison, director of environmental health and safety, said the devices were made of a chemical mixture and aluminum foil placed inside the bottle, and could explode after natural pressure builds.
“We don’t know exactly the chemicals that are in here. We know there’s foil, but whether there was a base or acid in there we don’t know at this stage what would have caused the gas production that would have caused the pressure,” Hutchison said.
A member of UI facilities found the bottles, the first of which was opened, releasing the pressure. The other two were punctured by the fire department, releasing the pressure.
Hutchison said no one was injured in the removal of the three bottles, and that facilities workers — especially those who empty trash and recycling receptacles — should take extra caution when emptying the trash.
“This is the first time that we’ve ever dealt with a device like this that we’re aware of,” Hutchison said. “Since it’s happened once we want to make sure that everyone is aware about it, that way we can spot it if necessary.”
Hutchison said a device like the ones found outside Wallace pose little threat, other than possibly causing fear.
“This is more of a vandalism type act to cause people to worry, but I think the actual hazard from it would be very minimal,” he said.
Madison McCord can be reached at email@example.com
Madison McCord | Argonaut
Members of University of Idaho Facilities, Moscow Police Department and Moscow Volunteer Fire Department search through a garbage and recycling receptacle on the south end of the Wallace Complex. Fred Hutchison, director of environmental health and safety, said that three “devices” — made in plastic soda bottles — were placed in the receptacle.