The parts that comprised the type of bomb that brought devastation to Boston can be found in any kitchen. In fact, you might be using one of them in your morning coffee.
“A little powdered creamer causes flash burns, spreads the heat and distance of the explosion. Of course, if you’re standing right next to it, it’s much worse,” said Keith Jackson from his Bothell home.
Jackson has encountered dozens of “pressure cooker bombs” -- more than he can count – as a private security contractor in Iraq and Afghanistan.
Pressure cooker bombs, like the one used at the Boston Marathon, are the same roadside bombs used to blow up American troops. They are not, however, exclusive to the Middle East. They are essentially supersized pipe bombs, fueled by anything from gunpowder to match heads, detonated with a cell phone or timer and loaded with nails and other shrapnel available at any hardware store.
A device similar to the one used in Boston was detonated by a domestic terrorist at the Atlanta Olympics in 1996. A pressure cooker bomb failed to go off in the Times Square attack in 2010.
“They are the weapon of choice,” said Jackson.
While the materials that made up the bombs in Boston are difficult to trace because of their mundane nature, the way they were assembled will help lead investigators to the killer.
“Someone who puts one of these together always leaves a unique pattern or signature on it,” said Jackson. “Fingerprints have even been found before.”
The CIA has a decade-long database of daily bombings in Iraq and Afghanistan with which to compare the Boston bombs. Jackson believes investigators will easily be able to determine whether the bomber is domestic or part of an organized terror cell.
In 2004, Homeland Security issued an alert about pressure cooker bombs, so they've been on the government’s radar for some time.
"There isn't as much anonymity as you'd think," said Jackson.