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Yakima Bomb Leads to Mercury Contamination – Parking Lot Repaved Due to Poisoning

Yakima police investigate drano bombs
(Courtesy KIT-AM Radio)

Yakima police and emergency response officials now say a suspicious device detonated by the bomb squad contained Mercury.

Last Thursday, police responded to the area of West Chestnut and South 11th Avenues after getting reports of several loud explosions.

Police later determined they were a series of what are called drano bombs, which consist of drain cleaner and aluminum foil in a tightly capped bottle.  The chemical reaction results in a sizable and often deadly explosion, especially if a 2-liter or similar bottle is used.  You may remember a number of weeks ago the Kennewick Police Department investigated several incidents where drano bombs were used to destroy mailboxes. Drano bombs are especially dangerous, because the chemical reactions are unpredictable.

Following the bombs last Thursday, and a subsequent brush fire on West Chestnut Ave,  police found a suspicious bottle wrapped in tape that was moved to a nearby parking lot and blown up by the bomb squad.  While the device didn’t have any explosive materials, it did contain a significant amount of Mercury.

Due to contamination of the lot and surrounding area from the explosion,  the Environmental Protection Agency was called in and tested the soil.   The mercury levels were high enough that city officials ended up repaving nearly 8,000 square feet of the lot, to prevent exposure to the chemical, and the possible spread of it’s vapor.

The city will be reimbursed for the cost of the paving by the EPA.   Officials did not say why the device contained the deadly compound, and did not say if they had any leads or had made any arrrests in either the drano bomb incidents or the mercury-filled bottle. They also did not say if the mercury bottle was directly linked to the drano bombings, but did say the bottle appeared to have been sitting in the field for some time, based upon it’s condition.

 

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