LOS ANGELES - Police believe two dry ice explosions at Los Angeles International Airport were triggered by a disgruntled employee and were not an act of terror.
Deputy Chief Michael Downing says the bombs made by putting dry ice in 20-ounce bottles could have caused serious injury to anyone in close proximity, though no one was hurt. Police consider them as dangerous as pipe bombs.
Police have no specific suspect yet but believe the explosions were part of a labor dispute.
Downing says they're not treating the incident as terrorism because no innocent civilians were targeted.
One device exploded in an employee men's room Sunday. An exploded bottle was found that night on the tarmac near the international terminal, but an employee threw it away. The same employee found an unexploded bottle Monday evening and then reported what he found earlier.
The device went off just before 8 p.m. Monday outside the Tom Bradley Terminal, said Los Angeles police Detective Gus Villanueva. The bomb squad responded and located the other two dry ice bombs before they could explode, Villanueva said.
Monday night's blast was the second explosion of a dry ice bomb at the airport in as many days.
Detectives from the Los Angeles Police Department's Criminal Conspiracy Section went to the scene to oversee the investigation, Villanueva said. The FBI is also investigating the planting of the devices.
The explosion Sunday night took place about 7 p.m. in an employee restroom at Terminal 2, which is used by several domestic and international airlines. That restroom was in an area off-limits to passengers, as were the areas where the devices turned up Monday, according to reports from the scene.
A dry ice bomb is not a sophisticated device. "But if you were standing near it when it exploded, you could get hurt," Villanueva said.
A dry ice bomb commonly consists of dry ice sealed in a rigid container, often a plastic bottle. As the dry ice breaks down, carbon dioxide is formed and begins to build pressure on the walls of the container until it explodes, turning into flying shrapnel.
Dry ice bombs can take anywhere from 30 seconds to 30 minutes to explode. So its unpredictability can be dangerous for the bombmaker as well as for innocent passersby.