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Worker mixes chemicals, to face charge

Fire officials arrested a grocery worker Tuesday after he mixed household products in bottles and one exploded.

Thursday, October 12, 2000

Fire officials arrested a grocery worker Tuesday after he mixed household products in bottles and one exploded.

Pick ‘n Save officials, the Ironton Fire Department and fire marshal Bob Lawless investigated, arresting Michael T. Adams, 21, of 3467 Ohio 93, Ironton.

He was lodged in the Lawrence County Jail on a charge of arson, according to Lawrence County Sheriff’s Department reports.

The bottle exploded because gas pressure built up inside it, much like putting too much air in a tire, fire chief Tom Runyon said.

Store security officers called the fire department at 8:46 a.m. The burst bottle was located above a cooler in the back of the store, Runyon said.

A swelled bottle was removed from another area in the store and destroyed, he said.

No one was injured.

"It was potentially very dangerous, though," Runyon said. "You’ve got a large amount of hydrogen gas and if you get that near a light bulb, you’ve got a problem, plus there’s acid being thrown when it explodes."

It appears Adams thought mixing a chemical with other materials in a bottle would only make a popping noise and scare people, Lawless said.

"The young man didn’t understand the consequences of what he was doing," he said.

He had heard about them and didn’t think they would work, Lawless said.

The information to build such an explosive device is readily available, especially on the Internet, but the information hardly ever lists the consequences, he said.

Hydrogen gas escaping from the bottle carries enough explosive force to break a light bulb, and the spark could ignite the gas and create flames, Lawless said.

"Still, what he did was a dangerous act and in an occupied building," Runyon said.

Those factors, plus the potential for fire, netted Adams the arson charge, Lawless said.

Pick ‘n Save handled much of the investigation internally, Runyon said. The fire department is continuing its investigation.