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BOUNTIFUL — Teenagers have made bombs and played with fireworks for years. But today there's just a lot more information online about how to do it.
After a chemical bomb incident at Bountiful High School Wednesday, the head of the Davis County Sheriff's Bomb Squad wants the public, and parents, to know these bombs pack a powerful explosion.
"It seems as soon as it gets warm, kids are just out making these things," said Davis County sheriff's deputy Larry Nielsen. "This last week has been pretty active."
As the county's lead bomb technician, Nielsen spend his day at Bountiful High cleaning up after the four homemade bombs. It was the squad's seventh homemade bomb incident in the past week.
KSL News later showed Nielsen a couple of "how-to" videos we found online — one detailing how to make a stink bomb, the other showing how to make a water bottle bomb.
"It's all dangerous," Nielsen said. "That's the old-school version of what they had today (at Bountiful High School)."
There are also YouTube videos showing how to make chemical bombs, like those set off at Bountiful High. These bombs contain hydrochloric acid, a dangerous chemical.
"It will burn your skin. It will burn your eyes. It's acid," Nielsen said.
KSL NewsRadio's "The Browser" asked YouTube why the site allows such videos. In a statement, representatives said they "prohibit videos intended to encourage dangerous, illegal activities, and that includes instructional bomb making. We review all videos that our users flag for our attention and quickly remove anything that breaks the rules."
But again, when we looked online, we found dozens of videos on bomb making that have been on the site for months.
Even if YouTube didn't have the videos, Nielsen said the materials needed to make such bombs are easy to obtain.
"Everybody knows how to make them, or they just know somebody who knows how to make them, and they can learn within minutes how to make them," Nielsen said. "Sooner or later, somebody is going to get hurt."
Unfortunately, the bomb squad can't simply diffuse the flow of bomb making instructions. "We're just left to deal with them as they arise," Nielsen said.
The key, Nielsen said, is community education. The Salt Lake City Police Department put together an educational video on the dangers of homemade bombs and posted it on the department's own YouTube channel.