Karina Barriga Albring
Blooming flowers and a piercing blue sky make it almost impossible to ignore that spring is here at Keene State College. However, although the spring fever proves to be healthy rather than harmful, a dangerous trend has started at the college: chemical bombs. Recently, 11 homemade chemical bombs were identified either on campus or in the surrounding areas of Keene State College, according to the Keene Police log.
From the middle of March to the end of April, Keene Police Department and Campus Safety have reported six homemade bombs reported on campus and five found off campus. According to Amanda Warman, director of Campus Safety at KSC, there are currently no registered injuries.
According to KPD Lieutenant Christopher Stewart, the exploding bottles found are homemade bombs. “[The bombs are] generally made of household chemicals that can be purchased in local stores. These are shaken in a capped container. Because of the chemical reaction, the container shawls and explodes,” Steward explained
Local authorities have expressed concern about public safety regarding to the exploding bottles.
“Someone could get really hurt. If the device hasn’t gone off, the explosion could hurt them. Even if it [a bomb] has already exploded, there are dangerous chemicals that could cause harm if they come in contact with the skin or eyes,” Stewart stated.
Stewart went on to suggest that if anybody sees what could be a bottle bomb, they shouldn’t approach the device, and they should report it to KPD immediately.
A press release by the Keene Fire Department stated that the explosions can cause injuries or death to persons in the immediate vicinity of the detonation.
“Chemical reaction bombs don’t have a timer to set or a fuse to light, and you can’t predict exactly when it will explode. If the device functions properly, its contents should begin to bubble after they’re combined, and the container may swell before it bursts. The whole process generally takes a minute to begin,” the press release read.
Warman said she believes the devices may have been placed by “someone that doesn’t intend to do a lot of damage, but is definitely not aware of how this [homemade bombs] can affect other people.”
Recently two men were severely injured in Eastern Oregon by an exploding bomb, according to an article in OPS News published on April 17. Also, in British Columbia, Canada, a man was taken to the hospital after a homemade bomb exploded and burnt his face and chest Friday, April 26, according to Metro News.
Last week in Keene, the number of incidents significantly increased. On Wednesday, April 24, the Keene Police Department responded to six calls related to the homemade exploding bottles in different locations, one of them on campus, specifically behind the Owl’s Nest.
Stewart indicated the increasing number of cases is new to Keene. “This has happened before, but this is definitely the biggest number we have had in such short period of time,” Stewart said.
Currently, KPD has made no arrests in the cases of the exploding bottles. Stewart said the cases are still under investigation and that no motive has been identified.
Stewart said he couldn’t comment specifically on whether the cases were related to each other. Warman said, “It is difficult to know. It could be the same individual or group or different. There could be copycat effect happening, someone that saw it [homemade bombs] on T.V or in a different location and tried to imitate.” Warman said this is the first time home bombs have been placed in KSC since she has been in the college.
According to Stewart, there is no evidence that relates the exploding bottles to KSC students. “We work with Campus Safety. We know that many bombs have been placed on campus, but we don’t know that they are necessarily tied to students,” Stewart said. Warman said, “We don’t know if it is students, friends of students or even local kids who are doing this.”
Stewart said if an arrest is made regarding to the exploding bottles, the person could face charges of criminal mistress, reckless conduct or possession of an infernal machine, which is a class A felony in the state of New Hampshire and can result in up to ten years in jail.
Anyone with information about the bottle bombs is asked to call Keene Police at 357-9813.
Karina Barriga Albring can be contacted at