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Mark Bello
Mark Bello
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Homeowners Beware! Dangerous Soda Bottles May Be Littering Your Lawn

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If you are like me, you may have seen information circulating on Facebook and other social media sites warning people to be aware of homemade explosive devices found on lawns, in mailboxes, driveways and gardens. While this may sound like an urban legend, it is definitely no laughing matter.

Made by putting Drano, aluminum foil, and water in plastic bottles, these “bottle bombs,” also called “Drano bombs,” look like any other soda or sports drink bottle one might find lying around. When an unsuspecting person sees the bottles as litter and attempts to throw them away, even the slightest movement can cause a chemical reaction between the Drano and tin foil, resulting in an explosion of hot and caustic liquid. The explosion is strong enough to sever fingers, cause second-and third-degree burns and blindness.

Reports of “Drano bomb” incidents date back to the early 1990s when an article in the Los Angeles Times claimed at least eight adolescents had been injured in glass bottle bomb explosions after learning how to construct the devices from an episode of the TV show MacGyver. Since then, incidents continue to surface. In 2010, bottle bombs were found in the yards of two York Township, Michigan homes. In 2013, a 16-year-old high school student was expelled and arrested for “possession and discharge of a weapon on school grounds” in Florida after detonating a Drano bomb in what was described as “an extracurricular science experiment.” In 2014, Wentzville, MO police arrested two juveniles after receiving numerous calls about explosions. Responding to the first call, officers found ruptured plastic drink bottles. A short time later, they were called to a home where a man suffered minor injuries after picking up a “Drano bomb”. A second bottle filled with liquid and aluminum foil was found at that location; it had not exploded. Police were called to a third explosion before they were able to track down the suspects and take them into custody.

This week these dangerous pranks have surfaced again. In Amity Township. PA, a plastic water bottle and a Gatorade bottle containing an unidentified liquid and aluminum were found on a resident’s lawn. Police took the bottles into evidence and have no suspects. Two Massachusetts teenagers were charged with four counts of placing an explosive device and four counts of discharging, igniting or exploding an explosive device. Police arrested the teens after responding to a call about plastic bottles that were foaming and appeared to contain pieces of metal. The incident led to an emergency hazmat response and prompted authorities to close the street were the bottles were found for several hours. One of the teens told his mother that he learned how to make the bombs on YouTube.

While teens think this is just a fun prank, again “Drano bombs” are no laughing matter. Police continue to advise everyone that if you find a soda bottle or any other bottles lying in your yard, mail box, etc. and unsure of its contents, don’t pick it up. If it shows signs of swelling or melting in any way, call 911.

For the safety of others, Lawsuit Financial encourages its readers to pass this on to everyone you know.

Mark Bello is the CEO and General Counsel of Lawsuit Financial Corporation, a pro-justice lawsuit funding company.