A young girl suffered serious injuries after a plastic bottle “bomb” that was thrown out of a moving vehicle exploded in her hands, and police are now searching for the person responsible.
The incident happened in Vancouver, Washington, on Saturday night. As KATU reported, the 13-year-old girl was walking her dog when she saw a plastic bottle near the road and picked it up to throw it away. Police said the bottle had been tossed out of a green SUV as it drove down the road.
As the girl picked up the clear bottle, it exploded in her hands, leaving her with serious injuries. It was not clear exactly what mechanism caused the bottle to explode, but the girl said that it had a clear liquid inside and white smoke. The girl’s mother, Ashli Fortner, told police she thinks it may have been filled with dry ice. She explained that her daughter had no idea how dangerous the bottle was when she first picked it up.
“She said that she didn’t know what was happening and she’s mad that they littered. And she went to pick it up and it exploded. She said it was so loud she couldn’t hear for a second and that she was really scared,” said Fortner.
The 13-year-old girl, who was not named, was taken to the hospital and received stitches for the injuries she suffered when the plastic bottle exploded. The injuries were not considered life-threatening, and she is expected to recover.
It is not clear what motive the person who created the plastic bottle bomb may have had or whether they intended to harm the 13-year-old girl. There are videos on YouTube of how to create exploding plastic bottles using household chemicals, and many have used them as pranks.
There have even been some previous warnings about people creating these dangerous chemical mixtures inside plastic bottles. The rumor-busting site Snopes reported on a 2010 letter sent to neighbors that someone was creating “Drano bombs” filled with the drain-clearing solution. Though it may have had the makings of an urban legend, this was very real. The letter was sent by Washtenaw County Sheriff’s Deputy Keith Mansell in April 2010 after someone left two “Drano bombs” in yards that then exploded.
Police say they have a video of the plastic bottle explosion in Washington this week but have not said if they have any suspects in mind. They are asking any members of the public with information to call the Vancouver Police Department.