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Homemade Rocket Fuel Explosion in BYU Dorm Displaces 22 Students

“Keep your experiments in the lab and supervised by trained professionals,” BYU campus police told students in a Twitter post after the explosion.

Homemade Rocket Fuel Explosion in BYU Dorm Displaces 22 Students

Provo, Utah – A 22-year-old Brigham Young University (BYU) student trying to cook up some homemade rocket fuel in his residence hall kitchen caused a fireball to erupt on Sunday afternoon.

The flames engulfed the kitchen, and the heat from the fire tripped Heritage Halls’ fire alarm system. When firefighters arrived at the scene, the building’s sprinkler system was flooding the main floor, reports KUTV. They were able to quickly extinguish the flames.

The explosion led to 22 BYU students being displaced from their dorm rooms, reports CNN. No one was injured, and many student residents weren’t on campus due to it being a holiday weekend.

“Keep your experiments in the lab and supervised by trained professionals,” BYU campus police told students in a Twitter post after the mishap.

Police are still investigating why the student responsible for the explosion tried to make homemade rocket fuel. Authorities say he is being very cooperative but that it’s possible he could face criminal charges. The experiment was not a class assignment.

Needless to say, exploding homemade rocket fuel is a highly unusual occurrence in college dorms. BYU Police spokesperson Jeff Long told KUTV that the fire department usually responds to burned Pop Tarts in that building.

BYUPD issued the following post on Twitter after the incident:

“Rocket Man”

On Sunday afternoon about 4:30 PM BYU police officers and Provo firefighters responded to a fire alarm at Heritage Halls Building 4. Upon arrival they found the fire sprinklers had been activated and were flooding the main floor. The subsequent investigation revealed that a resident had been making homemade rocket fuel on the stove when the volatile mixture suddenly exploded into a fireball. The flames from the explosion had engulfed the walls and ceiling around the stove and the intense heat tripped the fire sprinkler system. Firefighters quickly secured the scene and were able to put out the remnants from the fire.

Fortunately, no one was injured but some dorm residents will be displaced due to the flooding caused by this kitchen chemist incident. Please keep your experiments in the lab and supervised by trained professionals.

About the Author

Robin Hattersley Gray
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Robin has been covering the security and campus law enforcement industries since 1998 and is a specialist in school, university and hospital security, public safety and emergency management, as well as emerging technologies and systems integration. She joined CS in 2005 and has authored award-winning editorial on campus law enforcement and security funding, officer recruitment and retention, access control, IP video, network integration, event management, crime trends, the Clery Act, Title IX compliance, sexual assault, dating abuse, emergency communications, incident management software and more. Robin has been featured on national and local media outlets and was formerly associate editor for the trade publication Security Sales & Integration. She obtained her undergraduate degree in history from California State University, Long Beach.

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