Washington rocked by bombings on Sunday, police seeking information
WASHINGTON — The Washington Police Department confirmed today that two explosive devices were detonated Sunday, Feb. 19, inside the City of Washington. No injuries or damage were reported as a result of the blasts.
Washington Police Chief Greg Goodman said the department has contacted the Iowa State Fire Marshal’s office to investigate the blasts. The blasts occurred Sunday afternoon in the 700 block between N. Iowa and N. Second avenues and later in the evening in the 200 block of E. Third Street.
“We don’t know what it was, there were just pieces left,” Goodman said. “People heard a loud explosion and saw a lot of smoke. When the guys got there, there was a cardboard-type box — pieces of that and cloth.”
He reported officers didn’t find remnants from the second explosion. He said people were in the area of the first blast, but that no one had reported seeing the device go off. He said the neighbors who heard the blast described it as sounding like a shotgun going off.
Goodman said the fire marshal’s office wasn’t sure what the device was. He said that the fire marshal’s personnel weren’t familiar with the configuration. The remains were secured and will be tested to determine materials involved.
“It’s something different we haven’t seen before,” Goodman said.
Anyone with any information is asked to call the Washington Police Department at 319-653-2256 or the Washington County Communications Center at 319-653-2107. Goodman said so far there are no suspects.
Goodman said detonating an explosive device is a Class D felony, punishable by up to five years in prison. He said if the department can tie someone to the incident or catches someone with a similar device, they would be charged.
“It’s very dangerous,” he said. “People can lose hands or feet — possibly even death. It’s a good way for someone to get hurt. These aren’t stable. These homemade incendiary devices aren’t stable and they could have a big enough blast that they could seriously injure someone or kill someone.”
He said the device was placed on the snow and ice, which kept the area around it from being damaged. He also said there is no indication the incident was related to someone test firing a similar device to something they intend to use in a separate incident.
Goodman said that there have been instances in the past where people have set off improvised explosive devices. He said the incidents don’t happen very often.