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Mailbox Chemical Bomb Awareness & Safety Bulletin
Friday, July 30, 2010

Fairfax County Fire Department Hazardous Materials Section is concerned that the Great Falls community is experiencing a rash of chemical bombs placed in mailboxes., at least five recent reported incidents, perhaps more.  These chemical bombs include several components, when mixed together and sealed in a plastic bottle, create a reaction that releases gas. The gas causes the bottle to swell until it explodes. The explosions are powerful enough to damage mailboxes and cause potentially serious ham to persons.   
AWARENESS --- If you become aware of a plastic bottle inside a mailbox, or any oily residue in or on a mailbox, damage to a mailbox, materials protruding from a mailbox, hissing or other unusual sound or odors emanating from a plastic bottle, DO NOT DISTURB OR HANDLE the bottle or substance as they may explode when handled.
SAFETY INSTRUCTIONS --- Leave the bottle where it was found. Keep persons aware from the mailbox or other area.  Do not try to clean up or remove broken bottles.  DIAL 911 to request police and/or fire department assistance.  Instruct people in the immediate area of the bottle or substance to wash their hand and other exposed skin with soap and water.  
Be aware of unusual activity in your neighborhood, such as strange vehicles or persons stopping at mailboxes, especially if late at night.  Write down a description of such persons including age, gender, and general description and/or of vehicles, including make/model and license tags.  

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