A Bend Garbage & Recycling worker sustained minor injuries when a “bottle bomb” exploded in his hand after he opened it Thursday afternoon. The Oregon State Police Bomb Squad was called out from Salem to safely dispose of two other similar devices, found by a co-worker.
"I left about 4:30, and I saw a couple bottles at the corner on the sewer grate," said Cheryl Terwin, accounting manager for Bend Garbage. "So I immediately came back in, and I said, 'Randy, you need to go take a look and see if these are the same thing.' He said, 'Yes,' that these are identical. And I said, 'Now you call the police' -- and that's what he did."
The co-worker called police around 4:45 p.m. to report the bottles in the area of NE 18th Street and Montana Way.
The man said he found what he believed to be a discarded water bottle with liquid in it, Ritchie said. Intending to recycle the bottle, he picked it up and opened the lid to empty it out – but it exploded in his hand.
The worker sustained a minor injury that did not require medical treatment, the sergeant said.
Ritchie said the objects “did not appear to have been placed in the area with intentions of destroying property.”
Asked what that meant, Ritchie said, "It looks like they were more likely tossed than placed with a targeted intention."
The public was not at risk after the devices were found, he said, but Montana Way was shut down for about two and a half hours as a precautionary measure.
Police were investigating who might be responsible for making the destructive devices, Ritchie said, and anyone with information that might help them was asked to contact police at (541) 693-6911.
So-called “bottle bombs” usually use common household substances to create an object that can explode when opened or exposed to air. Oregon law prohibits the manufacture, possession or use of devices that are capable of exploding and causing serious injury.