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“Bottle bombs” found at RVR

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By John Colson

Sopris Sun Staff Writer

Police on Monday discovered several devices, described as “bottle bombs,” at the fishing pond in River Valley Ranch. But while the devices might have caused harm if disturbed by an unsuspecting or curious bystander, according to Carbondale Police Off. Michael Zimmerman, that did not happen.

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“Fortunately, the items had been improperly mixed and did not explode, so officers were able to dispose of (them) properly,” Zimmerman said in a press release.

The devices, according to Zimmerman, initially were noticed by an RVR resident who was near the pond when he saw one of the “bombs” at the edge of the slightly frozen body of water.

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The resident approached to examine the item, concluded it might be hazardous and called police, Zimmerman told The Sopris Sun on Monday.

Officers showed up to take control of the scene, and the plastic bottle filled with cleaning solution and aluminum foil. While inspecting the area, the officers noticed two other, similar plastic bottles on the thin film of ice that covered the pond, but were unable to retrieve them due to the thinness of the ice.

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CPD Lt. Chris Wurtsmith said on Tuesday that the department had contacted the RVR Home Owners Association to alert residents about the remaining two devices.

And, Wurtsmith continued, officers will retrieve the remaining two bottles “when it’s safe,” either after the ice has thickened enough to bear an officer’s weight, or a thaw sets in and melts the ice film away.

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Zimmerman explained that the “bombs” are designed so that the cleaning solution reacts with pieces of foil, and the resultant expansive gasses are what make the “bomb” go off.

“In a contained area, it can be pretty volatile,” Zimmerman said. “It can be a pretty violent reaction.”

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In the case of the devices found at RVR, Zimmerman said, “It doesn’t appear to be in any malicious manner. It looks like people were just experimenting with the chemicals.”

The incident is under investigation, Zimmerman said.

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“If you run across any of these, make sure the bottle is not swelling or swollen as it could go off,” cautioned the department’s press release about the incident. “Attempting to relieve the pressure can cause the cleaner to spray out into your eyes and skin. Contact the police department so it can be disposed of properly.”

Published in The Sopris Sun on November 26, 2015.

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