BYU students displaced after ‘homemade rocket fuel’ explodes

Feb 21, 2022, 9:39 AM | Updated: Jun 13, 2022, 4:45 pm

PROVO, Utah — Nearly two dozen students at Brigham Young University have been displaced after five pounds of homemade rocket fuel exploded and tripped the building’s fire sprinkler system.

Crews from the BYU Police Department and Provo Fire & Rescue responded to Heritage Halls building No. 4 Sunday around 4:30 p.m. after the building’s fire alarm went off.

Police said investigators learned a resident in the dorm “had been making homemade rocket fuel on the stove when the volatile mixture suddenly exploded into a fireball.”

The 22-year-old man wasn’t injured but did have some singed arm hair, police said.

“We was in the unit with a roommate,” said Lt. Jeff Long with BYU Police. “He was close to the ignition and was able to get out of the way as the, it was like a fireball that kind of crept up the wall and up onto the ceiling.”

(BYU Police Department) (BYU Police Department) (BYU Police Department) (BYU Police Department) (BYU Police Department) (BYU Police Department)

The heat from the explosion triggered the building’s sprinkler system, which flooded dorms on the first floor. Because of the water damage, 22 students have been relocated while repairs take place.

“It’s very serious when you’re talking life and death and criminal charges and the expense of repairs,” Long said. “So not something that we definitely want to laugh off.”

The fire department said the damage is estimated at $75,000.

“It doesn’t look like there was anything nefarious in this,” Long said. “I think it was just a curiosity thing.”

BYU Police reminded on social media that science experiments need to take place in the lab, not in the dorms.

“It is clear that this situation could have been much worse and we are grateful that no one was injured,” BYU Police said in a Facebook post. “We urge students to be aware of circumstances around them and consider how their actions have the potential to effect not just themselves, but others as well.”

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BYU students displaced after ‘homemade rocket fuel’ explodes