Two bottle bombs discovered in Hilo falls' bathrooms
By John Burnett
By John Burnett
HILO — Two bottle bombs were found yesterday in the restrooms at Rainbow Falls State Recreation Area.
The homemade devices were discovered around 10 a.m. by a janitor for the state Department of Land and Natural Resources. One, in a plastic soft drink bottle in the women's room, had detonated. The other, in a plastic jogger's water bottle in the men's room, had not.
Police and fire personnel were called to the scene. An engine company from the Kaumana Fire Station and a hazardous materials unit were both on scene. The restrooms were secured while police and fire personnel surveyed the scene.
"I smelled acid," janitor Kyle Takeya told a police officer.
"Do you know what kind of acid?" the officer asked.
"Muriatic acid," he said. "You know, the kind they use for etching. You could smell 'em."
Takeya told police that both bottles were next to sinks in the corners of the rest rooms. He said that pieces of the plastic bottle were scattered in the women's room.
"It looked like somebody grabbed one bottle and shattered it on the floor," he said.
Takeya told police that he could not finish his job in the men's room.
"I was cleaning up the urinal with a scrub brush," he said. "Right then, I saw the vapors. I got a headache. That's why the urinal's still dirty. I had to leave."
One firefighter was overheard to say, "plastic bottles with acid and aluminum foil."
"I talked to the fire personnel there," police Officer Dwayne Waipa told the Tribune-Herald. "It was some type of liquid, he's saying some type of acid. We're not too sure what type of acid or whatever. It was some sort of chemical reaction. The container itself was believed to be a plastic 16-ounce bottle.
"One ignited in the women's bathroom. The one in the men's bathrooms ... whoever the (perpetrators) are did not seal it off right, because it didn't ignite."
Waipa said that police have no suspects yet.
Two similar devices exploded near the Life Science Building on the University of Hawaii-Hilo campus in the early morning hours of Dec. 18, 2008, causing police and fire officers to evacuate that building and a portable classroom building and cordon off the area. An Army explosive ordnance team was called in from Fort Shafter in Honolulu.
Edward Emerson Wine II, a 20-year-old marine science major at UHH, was arrested and charged in that incident.
He is to be arraigned at 8:30 this morning before Hilo Circuit Judge Glenn Hara for manufacturing prohibited explosives and terroristic threatening, two class-C felonies that carry a maximum sentence of five years imprisonment.
The explosives charge carries a mandatory five-year term upon conviction, although actual time served would be set by the Hawaii Paroling Authority.