Homemade explosives found at UH dormitory
Pranksters who bottled a caustic chemical to make small explosions outside a University of Hawaii dormitory might face felony charges.
Police and firefighters were called to Johnson Hall on Dole Street just after midnight yesterday after UH campus security officers found two containers of the potentially explosive mix.
A city Emergency Medical Services crew treated a student manager for eye irritation received when he touched a container, police said.
Students and staff at the dorm told investigators that they heard at least five explosions earlier Sunday outside the residence hall.
The Honolulu Fire Department unit evacuated residents from some first-floor units because of potential chemical fumes, said department spokesman Capt. Frank Johnson.
The Honolulu Police Department bomb squad deactivated the two unexploded devices by flushing them with water, police said.
Officials said the chemical devices were created with a common household product in a plastic soft drink bottle that explodes when pressure builds up.
"They're not really bombs but they have an explosive effect," UH spokesman Gregg Takayama said. "Campus security was told that kids are getting the formula off the Internet."
He warned that anyone who finds a suspicious container should notify campus security or the police but should not attempt to handle it.
Police spokeswoman Michelle Yu said the incident was classified as a reckless-endangering case because the chemicals have the potential of causing serious injury.
Depending on the circumstances of risk to people, a device maker might face a felony first-degree reckless-endangering charge, which carries the maximum penalty of one year's imprisonment and a $2,000 fine.