With the Boston marathon bombings fresh on their minds, first responders from dozens of Western Washington jurisdictions witnessed the power of homemade bombs during a training exercise in North Bend.
“That box was seized in a traffic stop,” ATF bomb expert Brennan Phillips told the police, firefighters and prosecutors gathered.
The ATF team placed the box, half filled with professional grade fireworks, the back of junk car.
When the detonator was pressed, a fire ball enveloped the automobile and the blast set off car alarms in vehicles hundreds of yards away.
The demonstration showed how criminals or terrorists don’t have to look far to find explosive weapons to commit their crimes. It also gave first responders a look at some of the harm the devices can cause even when used in an innocent manner.
“(We’re telling them) to be on the lookout, to be educated about explosive threats, to be aware that it’s all around us,” said Phillips.
The attendees watched ping pong ball bombs, tennis ball bombs and gas bombs explode.
The box of fireworks not only destroyed the car they were placed in, it heavily damaged a junk vehicle sitting next to it.
The improvised explosive device (IED) training is sponsored by the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms (ATF) in Seattle and the Washington State Patrol.