WEST OCEAN CITY – The Worcester County Fire Marshal’s Office this week is investigating the recovery of as many as a dozen homemade soda bottle bombs, a few of which were detonated, at several locations around West Ocean City.
According to officials, the homemade bombs were made in plastic soft drink bottles with various components creating a chemical reaction and causing the bottles to expand and ultimately explode, posing a serious safety hazard to those making the explosive devices and/or anyone around them when they detonate.
According to Deputy Fire Marshal Rob Korb, the first of several soda bottle bombs was found in the parking lot of the Ocean City Factory Outlets near the Superfresh grocery store. The second was found on a baseball field at the Seaside Christian Academy, formerly the Ocean City Christian School, not far from where the first explosive device was found. Korb said this week he found 10 more of the explosive devices in the woods behind the school two days after the discovery of the first bomb at the shopping center parking lot.
Korb said this week the devices began turning up when witnesses in the area reported hearing them explode. Several witnesses have told fire marshal’s office officials they heard what they thought was a shotgun going off. Korb said officials at the Seaside Christian Academy saw three juveniles running into the woods behind the school after hearing the explosions.
Investigators are not viewing the homemade bombs and their detonations as pranks. The discovery of the explosive devices is under investigation and leads on potential suspects have been developed although investigators are not divulging the possible culprits.
Other instances of homemade soda bottle bombs detonating have appeared in other parts of the country. For example, a U.S. Postal worker was seriously injured in an Atlanta suburb when he inadvertently came across one of the explosive devices in a mailbox. According to a news report, the device was left by teenagers who admitted placing the bomb there in retaliation for a classmate who bullied them and the postal delivery person was the accidental victim. The teenagers have been charged manufacturing an explosive device, which is a felony.
Closer to home, a Magnolia, Del. youth has been charged with building soda bottle bombs that cause damages in two Magnolia neighborhoods in late January. The boy has been charged with four felony and two misdemeanor counts related to the manufacturing and detonating of homemade bombs.