From the Office of the State Fire Marshal:
HARFORD COUNTY, MD (April 22, 2013) – Deputy State Fire Marshals have charged three juveniles with making and detonating six chemical reaction devices, “soda bottle bombs” on the property of the Harford Day School located at 715 Moores Mill Road in Bel Air, Maryland. The incident occurred on Saturday, April 20, 2013 at approximately 5:00 p.m.
A joint investigation conducted by the Office of the State Fire Marshal and the Bel Air Police Department revealed three male youths, two 13-year-olds and one 12-year-old from Bel Air were responsible for making and detonating the devices on school property. All three youths confessed to taking part in the incident and explained they had learned of the devices on the internet. No injuries or property damage was reported as result of this incident.
The boys were charged with six counts of Manufacture, Possession and Use of a Destructive Device and six counts of Reckless Endangerment. They were released to the custody of their parents. The case has been referred to the Harford County Department of Juvenile Services. Soda bottle bombs are considered improvised explosive devices and carry a penalty of up to 25 years imprisonment and/or $250,000 in fines per device.
“The construction of these devices is often misrepresented as fun. However, the serious and potential destructive nature of these devices can cause: loss of vision, respiratory distress, loss of use of extremities and possibly death,” stated State fire Marshal William E. Barnard.
Rick Walker says
What is wrong with kids today. I heard this from my house 1/2 mile away. Now this makes sense, hopefully these three upstanding youth dont resort to bigger explosive devices. Also rumor in the neighborhood is that they have been making terror like threats and that they attend Southampton Middle Schhol. Will the school be looking into this? I hope so.
Jack Conner says
Rick Walker… ARE YOU SERIOUS?!
This should be handled BY THE SCHOOL, NOT law enforcement.
Nobody here was ever a kid and did stupid things?
25 years? What do cops who handcuff and taze and beat the crap out of someone get? NOTHING. What do drug dealers get? 1-5 years? What do car jackers get? What do murders get?
So you are willing to put away a 12 and 13 year old for 25 years and for WHAT? What good will they be to society when they get out?
Guess what, if they do get put in jail, I HOPE THEY DO come out and then do a REAL CRIME and to justify why they were ever in jail in the first place.
Has this country (and it’s stupid people) lost its friggin’ mind?
We played with BB Guns and chemical kits and gas powered planes and lit things on fire with magnifying glass and more as kids… Now, kids can’t even be kids, let alone make mistakes!
And as for cowboys and indians or even using your finger as a gun in school… Suspension and making it a crime? GIVE ME A BREAK!
Why should the school deal with it? Other than the private school on whos property it happened on. It happened on a Saturday. Honestly a but whoppinng and a day in front of a judge in Juvie court would do some good! This incident however did not happen in a school setting.
Are you joking what in the world is wrong with you. My question is what the hell is wrong with the Karens in this country these are freaking soda bottle bombs. My goodness it’s not an IED
Kids do stupid – really stupid – things. Now they should receive logical consequences for these choices. They owe society some sort of payment, something that isn’t fun, but is useful. And many hours of it. Well-supervised. Scrape gum from school desks? Mop floors? And society should see them laboring as a result of their poor choices. Not easy to implement, perhaps, but definitely very simple. And necessary. Any of this likely to happen? Naaahhhh…….such a shame to waste a great teachable moment.
I agree wholeheartedly. In my day, if I had been involved in such nonsense, my father would have made any legal punishments seem like a day at the park.
It’s time for Bel Air police to distribute information about bottle bombs. To understand what they are, how they are made, and what to do if you find one, go to: http://www.snopes.com/crime/warnings/bottlebomb.asp
“Destructive device” charges are serious felonies with long jail terms (including 10 years in federal prison) as it is the same charge for dynamite or plastic explosives, is that really the appropriate charge, or should they be given disorderly conduct and/or disturbing the peace citations, some community service, a hefty fine and a good learning experience about how not everything you read on the internet is a good idea?
Mason L. says
I also heard what appeared to be gunshots while I was doing yardwork. I spoke with my neighbor and a group of teens were playing basketball and a mother with two young children were on a playground right near where the kids were setting these things off.
@ Kharn an explosive device is an explosive device regardless of its size or capability, why should the charges be changed to disorderly conduct or disturbing the peace. They did this on a schools property near a populated playground/basketball court. In this day and age this behavior cannot be tolerated and frankly its pretty scary. This is not normal behavior, I hope the courts hold them accountable and I hope they also get mental health help.
Kids have been playing with homemade, low-grade explosives for generations, nitroglycerine is not hard to make if you know what to buy at the store, or stripping and mixing small fireworks to make bigger ones, shooting model rockets at random objects, etc. Kids are idiots looking for a good time, and with the internet, they can find stupid ideas very quickly, that doesn’t mean they’re actively trying to hurt others. Most would have no idea that mixing Draino and aluminum foil (or dry ice and water, or any number of combinations of substances due to the wonders of chemistry) in a soda bottle is a serious crime, they just think its something cool they saw on YouTube.
If they were throwing the bottles onto the basketball court with the intention of hurting another person, yes, they should be locked up, but if they were just screwing around hundreds of feet away from the nearest innocent bystander, I do not think ruining their lives by running them through the judicial system is the right thing to do.
Dora Place Resident says
Kharn I saw the police from my back door and where they were standing was 30 ft or less from the playground, with several exploded and unexploded devices. Does that change your opinion, would it if your kid or family member was playing there? I agree with Mason they should be held accountable, I dont think for 10 years but they need to learn a lesson.
Did any adults tell them to stop, or did they immediately turn to the cops to solve the problem?
Dora Place Resident says
Kahrn I didn’t see them igniting the bottle bombs, but even if I did I would have called 911. Are you suggesting that a normal citizen should confront a person with a bomb? If so why? Maybe the parents of these three kids should take responsibility for there actions. Its not my responsibility to tell another kid what to do or what not to do, its called good parenting maybe some people need to catch up on it.
Have you ever been present when a “bottle bomb” has gone off, or do you know how they work? They are a lot of noise, a small splash of Draino and a very tiny chance of getting hit in the eye with a piece of plastic. There is no fuse or ability to predict when it will pop, it could go off in 5 seconds or 10 minutes, so the ability to use one as a weapon is quite low. They produce almost no fragmentation, very little blast (beyond a moderate firecracker, as it will take off fingers if you’re holding it when it goes off) and no flame.
It is everyone’s responsibility to make sure the community is safe, and if someone is setting off such devices for entertainment or a prank, it is everyone’s obligation to stop them before they hurt themselves or others. That obligation includes stopping children from harming their future by getting wrapped up in felony charges.
“Its not my job” is exactly why the police end up involved in situations like this, and instead of an example of good parenting, it is clear evidence of the lack of parenting skills by everyone in the surrounding community who did not speak up before calling the police.
Uncle Benny says
Kharn- “The construction of these devices is often misrepresented as fun. However, the serious and potential destructive nature of these devices can cause: loss of vision, respiratory distress, loss of use of extremities and possibly death,” stated State fire Marshal William E. Barnard. So I ask you Kharn are you that stupid that you disagree with the Fire Marshal or do you have more experience in this area then the fire marshal does? Please let us all know. I believe the fire marshal says that it can possibly cause death.
I agree that they are dangerous, with the caveat, if they are handled improperly. And yes, death is a possibility if you’re holding one when it pops, it takes off your hand and you’re unable to stop the bleeding. But when used in a controlled manner, with appropriate distance and safety precautions, they are not going to open up a volcano, crash over-flying airplanes or awaken Godzilla.
Let’s not add the “what if your family was ….” Emotional response to drum up the argument and resolution to this problem.
Let’s work on facts and evidence first, probably which both are still being processsed and collected.
REALLY! Are you nuts?
Maybe if you had a competent intelligent adult intervene to direct the kids to a more safe environment to conduct their testing this would not have turned into the “WHAT ABOUT THE CHILDREN?” farce it has become.
Fact Finder says
Like many other people that have posted have said, maybe the kids parents should keep a better eye on their children. Your comment is insane to suggest lets go test these things in a field. They are still dangerous, are you that stupid or is one of your kids that was charged. Grow up!
Distance provides safety.
Uncle Benny says
So Kharn what you and Because think is that these kids should have tested these explosive devices in a remote area. That proves that both of you are unrealistic and that if you are a parent and would do what you described for your kid you should be ashamed. You are enablers. I also see you blame neighbors and say they should have intervened, what about these three kids parents where were they? Don’t play the blame game, everyone wants to say not my child, how about taking responsibility for your kid. Maybe just maybe this world would be a better place
I would expect the kids’ parents to intervene as well, given the circumstances they were handling them in, on a school ground, near other people, no constructed safety mechanisms, probably no ear/eye protection, no experienced person monitoring, etc. If I caught my kid doing that, he’d feel my belt across his rear with every step of the walk home, but I wouldn’t call the cops on him as I feel the current law is wrong and too much of a punishment for a childhood prank.
Maybe we’ve had different life experiences, but Soldiers/Marines play pranks with MRE bombs all the time, and they work on exactly the same principle as a Draino bomb.
Would it be insane to take them to a shooting range or to help them build model rockets and launch them safely? We all shouldn’t strive for a service related job, especially with the lack of customer service ethos some seem to lack. Just how do you think an inquisitive mind learns things? Do you know anyone who is interested in ballistics or aerospace or aviation that has maybe dabbled in any of these things as a kid? It’s not crazy to many who have been interested in these things. It is crazy for those with ill intent and for those that are afraid to turn off “American Idol” and maybe see what the kids are up to.
Is the same Because or an imposter?
hats off to you sir for a sensible answer
Mason, if you believe any explosive device no matter its size should be considered as such I can only hope next time you are blowing up a balloon and it pops in your face there is a cop around there to arrest you give you a felony that ruins the rest of your life,and throw you in jail for 10 years for setting off an improvised explosive device.
The Money Tree says
These kids need to be severely punished. Half a day in a non-airconditioned room ought to turn thier heads around.
farm tractor says
Common sense is needed, if plastic bottles were banned this would never happen. I urge you to contact your legislators.
The plastic bottle safety act of 2014.
Anonymous in Bel Air says
Just remember Farm Tractor that it is for the children! Ban all plastic bottles!
Rick Walker says
I see that you have turned this into a joke and see your point. But parents need to be more accountable for there kids and hold them responsible for there actions. Its not a requirement that you have to be a cool mom or dad or be best friends with your kid. Ask questions, be involved in there life and know whats going on.
The problem is that these kids are never held responsible for anything starting at the school level, and as they continue to get away with everything, they begin to commit bigger crimes, again with little consequences, now we are full of a world of criminals that do whatever they want
Fact Finder says
@Holdthemresponsible – This is the most logical comment I have seen posted dealing with this issue. Others are downplaying saying well they were small bombs, who cares. Others are blaming adults in the area who are not even a parents of these three kids, others are bashing people for using the what if this was your kid playing when these bottles exploded. The three that were charges should be held responsible, because if you don’t catch it now the acts they do will escalate and that will not end good.
And how do you know the kids were aware they were illegal?
Uncle Benny says
Are you from the ACLU? Your comments are out of line and you sound like you support the fact that kids were building bombs. Are you sure you are not Monster or PTBL?
The only similarity these have with a real bomb is they both make a loud noise.
I do not support that they were doing it on school grounds, (possibly) near others, unsupervised, etc, but at the same time I do not support the current law making this behavior a crime.
Uncle Benny, I’ve often wondered if you are a virtual clone of Marc Eaton or Marc’s Eighth Cousin in Law. When I build model rockets am I intent on using them as Intercontinental Ballistic Missiles with a live warhead?
Uncle Benny says
No I called my mom today to see if Marc Eaton or his Eighth Cousin in Law were related to me and she said no. Maybe she is lying if so let me know and I will tell her to contact you. I personally dont know Marc Eaton or his Eighth cousin in law from WV and dont know what this has to do with them.
I blew up a whole lot of stuff as a stupid young boy and I have yet to go to jail or kill someone or rob someone or any of the things you want to attribute to these boy’s future.
Wow! You must have had parents who taught you the government wasn’t your personal nanny for life to teach you right from wrong and wrap you in fluffy padding so you would never get hurt on the playground.
pissed with the government says
They weren’t playing with explosives, I Believe the state fire Marshall is incorrect in his statement and charges. A bottle bomb is nothing more than a chemical reaction causing an over pressure on a vessel that creates a rupture making a loud noise. I remember experiments in high school science classes that were the same thing. It’s the equivalent of blowing into a paper sack and smacking it. This is a traviousty upon justice if these kids were not trying to hurt someone.
One of these devices meets the definition of an explosive, how ever low grade in nature it is.
And that definition was written by someone with zero knowledge of the subject.
Agreed but it also meets the chemical definition of an explosion. A release of matter which is pressurized. In this case a gas which is produced rapidly in a chemical reaction between Aluminum and Sodium Hydroxide.
And if you want to go by that definition, opening a shaken beer or soda is an explosion. Should we start locking up everyone we find tailgating before a Ravens game?
NO…..SImply providing the Chemical definition. I am not saying we should fry these kids but some judicial punishment (trash clean-up on the highway) would be appropriate in addition to a parental butt whopping!
Now Kharn is an expert on this subject just like he/she is on everything else. You never cease to amaze me with your brilliance.
It was for Science! Science is cool. Kharn knows science. These kids were exploring science. What have you got against science?
For The Children says
We should ban science so that things like this never happen again…
Mary H says
I think some of you are crazy–condoning this illegal act. These are young teens in a field, not a controlled situation in a classroom. Why in the hell would you want to mess around with something like this? I guess it’s ok to play with fireworks, it’s just a little bit of compound that causes a chemical reaction and a loud noise. Jeffrey Dahlmer started killing animals. The Unibomber started making making molotov cocktails. And what is a traviousty? A travel Agency? I assume you mean travesty?
I’d like to point out that fireworks are legal and a ton of fun. V8 muscle cars, diesel engines, firearms, air shows, rocket launches, etc, are also loud, legal and fun, and you won’t find those in a classroom.
and they all started by breathing, maybe we should ban breathing
Jeffrey Dahlmer, Unibomber ? Are you kidding me ? People need to lighten up. A good talking to by an adult about possible dangers ought to do it. As kids we built tennis ball canons, shot b.b.guns, .22s, and shot guns and not one of us grew up eating people or becoming terrorists.These kids are all about 12 years old and appears there was no intent other than trying to have some exiting fun. Yes possibly dangerous fun but not a malicious act. Any who really thinks these kids should be charged with a crime should take a step back and consider if that’s the best response for what really went on and what lesson you want them to learn.
Maybe it is best to not respond to Kharn anymore. I think he likes the attention he is receiving.
The most responsible post yet on this thread.
Assault bombs should be banned and the kids and their parents should go to jail forever and ever.
Now that thats out of the way can we just admit that young boys do stupid things and should do their stupid things while supervised?
IT’S 3 PM DO YOU KNOW WHERE YOUR CHILDREN ARE?
PS AND 50 YEARS AGO MOST PARENT DIDN’T
AND THE STORIES I WONT TELL YOU EITHER!
WAIT A MINUTE says
What would a backfiring 1987 Chevy 1/2 ton be considered?
Dora Place Resident says
There are some radical people on this site justifiying this behavior. I agree with someone else who posted I think people like Whoa and Kharn just love the attention they are getting. So this will be my last post, people are truly crazy.
I just love freedom and personal responsibility.
How does someone thumbs down freedom and personal responsibilities? That’s the founding thought of our country. I guess some would rather live in Cuba, or a place like North Korea.
Patrick Luft says
My question is did they even know they were illegal in the first place? If not whose fault is it really the non-informed kids or the government for not telling them so. In my opinion most young teens don’t understand the rules put in place by society mostly because they haven’t learned them.
The world is going insane. Some crazy replies above here. The stupidity on this planet is growing like a fungus. You idiots! Unbelievable. Sending kids to jail for Soda bottles!??? Idiotic!
nanny state says
No different then putting dry ice into a bottle of water and sealing the lid, it blows up. Although . they should not have done it school grounds. Kids do dumb stuff. When we were kids we played with fake guns, ran all over the neighborhood doing it. Now if a kid has a fake gun outside playing people are calling the police, and you wonder why they they are smoking spice, and snorting bath salts.
I’ve read all of the comments and I see both sides to a certain degree . For the ones that think that the parents should have been more attentive….all of our rights for parenting has been stripped away… We are afraid to give our kids a paddling because then you can be accused of abuse …even teachers hands are tied where kids can say and do whatever they want …and what has this created? A generation that has no respect for anyone or anything except themselves. They Fear nothing or no one especially their parents. I say let the judge beat their butts in front if their parents…. Whoa… Bet that will get a reaction… More of you would rather see these kids go to jail then have an old fashion whipping for their antics! Come on people … What have our society become?
Stop whining about how the state has prevented you from being a good parent. Take some responsibility for your children. If you don’t, you will definitely regret the outcome later – and so will the rest of us.
This is unfortunate because throwing an empty aerosol can into a bonfire (for example a can of hairspray or whipped cream) will produce the same basic reaction and report. If so, is that also punishable by 25 years in jail?
Our War on Terror has definitely gone too far.
That’s so sad. Most kids have lit fireworks off, most kids have taken cap guns or fireworks and tried to blow them up together or find a way to manipulate the event into more “fun”. While this may not be exactly that, 25 years while, like someone said earlier, a cop who shot and killed a black guy, because he was black, and then edited the security tape to cut out that 3 second part, went on vacation.
And this happens probably more or less, regularly.
These kids do something that kids always do (if you haven’t, you’re just uneducated, baking soda and vinegar makes a volcano, it’s literally basic chemistry/playing with food), they just made a mistake and did it in the wrong manner, setting and attitude.
That doesn’t automatically justify intent of something similar to a terrorist bombing.
People are looking to throw blame and maim more people. They are the innocent people of the public who don’t deserve the loss of privacy or life from people being uneducated and overly fearful.
Hazle Nutt says
Well sure just let these fine upstanding youth do whatever they want. When they were searching the web and watched the video it said drano “bomb”. What is unclear uin that about “bomb”. But keep making excuses not my kid, he/she wouldnt do that. When is the last time you nay sayers checked to see what your kids were doing on the computer or where they were at. Probably never because you take the not my kid approach, keep up the good work. Its not hard to be a parent just be involved in your kids life, ask questions and be a good influence.
Jeff in Bel Air says
The best part about all of this is that two of these youths were out on the street just last night looking for something to get into. This whole problem starts and ends with the parents. The parents of these boys should be handling this problem at home. I know in my time my parents would have beat my ass if i did something like that!
hingelmccringel barry says
well you know what people that think this is so bad all it is, is some kids having fun not some sort of terrorist act i have seen this on youtube and it docent even take out the ground and they weren’t trying to hurt people look all I’m saying is cops and other people are blowing this out of proportion look at the ages 12 and 13 come on they are kids having fun.
No one was hurt and it didn’t occur on government property. Was there any intention of causing harm to any one? No. So, where is the crime? Once again, government employees are acting like idiots and trying to scam ignorant citizens into believing a crime occurred and that there was a potential danger to the safety of residents in the immediate vicinity of the event. The only crime I can see is trespassing on private property. I don’t think a disturbing the peace charge is appropriate as it didn’t disturb anyone’s peace anymore than most cars going by thumping loud music. I don’t think their conduct was disorderly either. The charges are bogus, and do not fall under the jurisdiction of statutory regulation. Why was the Fire Marshall even brought into this investigation? Was there a fire? The article didn’t mention it. It is time to hold government employees accountable for their actions and this is a perfect example of the idiocy of an overbearing government employee who is attempting to cause harm to underage children who committed no offense but trespassing. Harford County needs a new Fire Marshall and that guy needs to be fired. Just for the record, I don’t care about anyone’s over sensitivity or fake fear that has been displayed on the comments here. Freedom comes with risk and eliminating freedom because of risk is very arbitrary minus a harm. Either identify the victim, other than the kids that are being obviously victimized by such hefty charges, or call it trespassing.
Open Your Eyes says
Did anyone notice that this article is ten years old? Jake I have to agree with you sir. Secondly, I wonder if Mason is still around. I hope he didn’t stroke out. I often find it amusing how people, with all the problems facing us in this country, pick some of the most petty of incidents to worry about. Of course that is just my opinion.