COLUMBUS — Columbus Police Chief Chuck Sharp asked Columbus residents to be on the look out for plastic bottles filled with liquid laying in yards — and if they find them to call police or the Columbus Fire Department — they could explode.
Over the last couple of weeks, Sharp said, there have been four of these “plastic bottle bombs” found after they had detonated at Columbus Unified High School and near play ground equipment at the city park. So far no one has been injured.
The bombs can be made using two inexpensive ingredients which can be found at any grocery store and once shaken inside the bottle quickly explode.
Sharp told the Columbus City Council in surrounding areas perpetrators have been adding nails or other metal objects to the bombs to make shrapnel and in some areas the bombs have been left unshaken in people’s yards.
Sharp said the bombs are powerful enough to blow off fingers or even limbs. He also said the time between shaking and explosion can vary from 30 seconds to as little as five or less.
“Sooner or later we’ll find out who it is because it’ll go off in their hands and they’ll end up at the hospital,” he said.
Sharp asked residents to be on the look out and report any loud bangs or bottles found in their yards.
The council also voted not to charge Cherokee County for water and to continue to provide water free of charge to the ball park, Girl Scout House, Legion Fairgrounds, Rodeo Grounds and 4-H building at no charge.
In other business, the council:
• Voted to have a red and gold hot air balloon put on the city welcome signs.
• Mayor Marie Nepple appointed Cherokee County Emergency Management Director Jason Allison as Columbus fire chief. The motion died for a lack of second.
• Opened bids for a new jet rodder and camera system for city works, the bids were referred to committee.
• Passed an ordinance setting rules for mobile homes within the city.
• Voted to pay half the cost of a retirement plaque for former fire chief Brad Gleason, the other half to be payed for by the fire department volunteers, and;
• Voted annual step increases for Justice Gannaway, Jack McNally and Roger Johnston.