Sparkler bomb found in west Wichita park

07/03/2012 5:00 AM

07/04/2012 7:27 AM

Wichita police said Tuesday that they are investigating the second sparkler bomb found in the city in the past two days.

Unlike the first bomb, the second bomb did not detonate, said Lt. Chris Bannister, who heads the explosive ordnance department. It was found under a tree in Harvest Park, 9500 W. Provincial, southwest of 13th and Tyler Road, at about 9 p.m. Monday by a man who had gone to the park with his son.

The bomb squad confirmed it was a sparkler bomb, Bannister said. Investigators are collecting evidence from the device, which was about the size of two fingers taped together.

“This is not a recent phenomenon,” Bannister said. “We’ve seen these … in Wichita in recent years.”

Sparkler bombs have become so common, in fact, that fireworks manufacturers are switching from metal to wood stems on sparklers, he said. Bombers prefer the metal stems because the shrapnel can cause more damage than wood splinters.

Bannister said he had a detective go out to buy sparklers for a demonstration, and at stands where no metal stems were available he was asked, “What are you going to do, make sparkler bombs?”

“So they know what’s going on,” he said.

Since sparklers are typically used by young children, Bannister said, parents should be wary if their teenager shows a strong interest in them.

Sparkler bombs “are very powerful, very dangerous, and they burn very hot,” he said.

Numerous deaths and injuries have resulted from the detonation of sparkler bombs around the country.

A sparkler bomb exploded inside a mailbox in the 2200 block of South Greenway, near Pawnee and McLean, on Sunday night, police said. Remnants of the mailbox flew several dozen feet, shattered a window and damaged the wall of a nearby house.

No injuries were reported from the Sunday night incident.

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