Eight Chemical Bombs Found in Palatine

The Cook County Bomb squad disarmed several chemical bombs found at the Randville Condominiums, less than one mile from Palatine High School.

OUTSIDE CHICAGO -- The local bomb squad disarmed and removed eight chemical bombs from a courtyard at a condominium development Sunday, police said.

According to the Palatine Police Department, filled with bleach, the eight “Macgyver type bombs,” or homemade chemical bombs were found around the courtyard behind the Randville Condominiums in Palatine at 1116 E. Randville Drive, less than one mile from Palatine High School.

A nearby resident spotted one of the devices and called 911 Sunday about 1:15 p.m. Deputy Fire Chief William Gabrenya said firefighters from a distance were able to confirm the presence of several devices in the courtyard of Randville Condominiums and verified the potential hazard of the chemical bombs. 

Gabrenya said firefighters blocked off the courtyard, photographed the devices and called in the Palatine Police who notified the Cook County Bomb Squad. With a fire engine and ambulance standing by, Palatine Police officers and firefighters secured the area and waited for the bomb squad to move in.

“It wasn’t a significant device,” said Deputy Chief Gabrenya, “We were not expecting it to cause a lot of damage, but it’s hard to say without knowing what kind of chemicals it contained.”

In a variety of containers, ranging in size from 16 ounces to one gallon, Palatine Police Cmdr. Kurt Schroeder said the “bleach bombs” appeared to be homemade. “They’re usually made with bleach, sometimes others chemicals and some foil” said Cmdr. Schroeder, “It works off pressure, it build and builds until it explodes.”

According to a report from the Centers for Disease Control, the explosion of a homemade chemical bomb can cause injuries such as chemical burns, respiratory irritation, and trauma, or potential death to persons in the immediate vicinity of the detonation.

At 2:30 p.m. the Cook County Bomb Squad arrived at the courtyard at 1116 E. Randville Drive to disarm and dispose of the eight chemical bombs. According to the Palatine Fire Department, none of the devices went off, no one was injured and the Cook County Bomb Squad had no problems removing the bombs from the area.

Residents of Randville Condominiums said officers searched the area for about five hours to look for any other devices.

The Palatine Police Department is leading the homemade chemical bomb investigation but at this time, Cmdr. Schroeder said they have no suspects. If police do find the person(s) responsible, Cmdr. Schroeder said charges of possession of an explosive or incendiary device could be filed.

Jack Johnson October 02, 2012 at 02:34 PM
Only in Palatine!! Give thanks CNN doesn't do a poll "Top ten strangest places to live.".
Ellen October 02, 2012 at 03:39 PM
Only in Palatine??? Not according to Youtube.
Catherine October 02, 2012 at 03:57 PM
Really makes me feel safe living in Palatine. Two murders, and now this? Methinks it's time to move out of this town. Used to be a nice place.
Vanessa October 02, 2012 at 04:54 PM
Murders and a string of burglaries, including that one poor woman who was tied up in her basement. And now this. It's definitely a bit alarming.
jimbarry1946 October 02, 2012 at 04:58 PM
Those things could do a great deal of damage outside a school with a lot of young people gathered around.
Rachel Glaser October 02, 2012 at 05:16 PM
People who live in that area and who have kids walk through there to get to school are very concerned. Residents say they've had a lot of problems recently, that's something I'll be looking into today so be sure to check for updates on this story.
Neal October 02, 2012 at 06:28 PM
Start interviewing the locals hanging around, the criminal always returns to the scene of the crime. Looking forward to hearing updates on this. I hate to say this but it could very well be someone from the lower income housing across Rand road, sitting and watching to see their havoc. I am just glad no one was hurt.
Ellen October 02, 2012 at 07:44 PM
Hopefully kids old enough to be in h.s. know better than to pick up a plastic bottle and shake it. And they sure wouldn't be picking it up to put it in the trash. I don't see the point of leaving them out there anyway. Doesn't someone have to be there to shake them up or otherwise get them working???
Roman G. Golash October 02, 2012 at 07:49 PM
The Palatine police need to arrest the culprits, but they also need to connect the dots. Where these people connnected to a gang? Or are they connected to a terrorist group? These events will only increase in the future, this is "social justice."
Neal October 02, 2012 at 08:27 PM
A question, would Mentos in a Diet Coke bottle qualify as A chemical bomb? I know they don't want to give out too many details until they catch the culprits, but that would make a huge difference in how the public looks at this crime. "Bomb" makes it sound like a device that could actually destroy a structure, not just have a boom and get it drenched in coke..
Ellen October 02, 2012 at 08:42 PM
Neal, from looking up bleach bottle bombs on Google/Youtube they are clearly more dangerous than Diet Coke and Menthos but not something that would be used to bring down a structure.
Rachel Glaser October 02, 2012 at 08:54 PM
Both the Palatine Police and Fire Departments list the devices as "chemical bombs" in the reports and the bomb squad was called in to disarm the devices. I don't think they would take that precaution with a bottle of Diet Coke and Mentos.
Felix October 02, 2012 at 10:12 PM
Neal, that is probably the most sane comment in this list. Would a high schooler pick up a plastic bottle and shake it? Of course they would. Terrorist? Not with the kind of bombs they are describing. Gangs? I'm sure there many more issues with guns and knives than bombs. Strange ... this happnes a lot of places. Leave Palatine ... if this makes you afraid, then where are you going to live?
Ellen October 02, 2012 at 10:39 PM
Used to be nice and safe - unless, of course, you were working at Brown's Chicken.
Ellen October 02, 2012 at 11:02 PM
It's not uncommon to hear small explosions coming from that area - especially around July 4th but not only then. Heard one just the other night that made my dog take cover under my desk.
JJ Hawk October 03, 2012 at 02:32 AM
"They’re usually made with bleach, sometimes others chemicals and some foil” Sounds like the kids who made these need to spend more time in Chemistry class. If it sat there that long and didn't go off, they didn't do it right. We made these in high school, called them drano bombs, and they were good for a few minutes of fun, and anything but distructive except to the patch of lawn they killed.
JJ Hawk October 03, 2012 at 02:35 AM
On a side note, I have a feeling the bomb squad was called in out of fear these might have been mobile meth labs, commonly called shake and bake, which I guess can be quite explosive.
Margie McG... October 03, 2012 at 08:16 PM
It's a typical high school prank, known for years all over the country. It is a very dangerous prank!
Jerry Cain October 06, 2012 at 05:01 PM
Fo rthose of us who lived through the cold war, chemical bomb means cheical weapon such as VX or Sarin. Yes, these bottle bombs can do damage, but no more than the fireworks that can be purchased legally in many states. Those that made them need to be brought to justice, but using the term chemical bomb it cheap journalism and scares the hell out of the public for no reason.
gordon smalls October 06, 2012 at 08:37 PM
I am not sure why this story was picked up on the national news wires but I do know it is being COMPLETELY BLOWN OUT OF PROPORTION FOR DRAMATIC EFFECT. These arent terrorist and these are marginally dangerous. The only people they are going to hurt are the ones generally making them. However, Darwin will be in play so that kind of evens it out. These are otherwise known as 2 Liter bombs and all they do is go "boom". It is a poor man's firecracker. We used to do these all the time when we were young, along with making potato cannons, having bb gun wars, etc. These types of simple, single reduction reactions is what got me fascinated with chemistry and led to an advanced degree in chemical engineering along with the other engineers and one nuclear physicists. It is absolutely insane and pathetic that we have to assign this to "terrorism" and make it into a federal offense. Can kids get hurt? Yes. But they can do that by riding a bike, building forts in the woods, or playing football ( which is completely idolized vs. ingenuity and self reliance). Teach kids about the potential dangers of this and use it as a teaching lesson - dont crucify them and label them as terrorists.
Vortex October 07, 2012 at 05:57 PM
Clearly we need much stronger plastic bottle and bleach control laws, hopefully Illinois can lead the way and pass a ban immediately. Mayor Bloomberg will be on board as well. The Brady campaign can publish all sorts of fake propaganda demonizing Coca Cola bottlers and P&G (or whoever makes Chlorox and Reynold's Wrap). Won't someone think of the children?
Rachel Glaser October 08, 2012 at 09:39 PM
The term chemical bomb was taken directly from the reports filed by the the Palatine Police and Fire Departments. It's the term officers and officials with the Cook County bomb squad used to identify the devices. --That's reporting the facts provided by investigators, not cheap journalism.
Becca October 09, 2012 at 09:53 PM
Any community has bad things going on to some extent. You're not going to find anywhere that doesn't. And to the woman who made the comment about high schoolers "surely not picking up these bottles to throw them out", I'm offended as a recently graduated high school student because we're a lot more conscientious than you obviously give us credit for. But that's not the point. The world is different than it used to be, and as long as the police are aware of an issue and are addressing it, that's all we can ask for.
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