Email warning ‘explodes’ across the InternetAn emailed warning from the Carlton County Transportation Department took on a life of its own late last month, when word about the warning spread like wildfire … or like an email hoax.
By: Jana Peterson, Pine Journal
An emailed warning from the Carlton County Transportation Department took on a life of its own late last month, when word about the warning spread like wildfire … or like an email hoax.
In this case, the warning – cautioning people to beware of plastic drink bottles that could be filled with an explosive concoction made of three common household items – was not a hoax, but it was only a warning.
“If the bottle is picked up, and shaken, even just a little, in about 30 seconds or less it can build up sufficient gas to explode with enough force to remove some of your extremities,” the memo cautioned, warning people they could lose fingers or their eyesight. “The liquid that comes out is boiling hot as well.”
On Wednesday, the Cloquet Police Department sent out an email clarification informing residents that there have been no incidents with exploding pop bottles in Carlton County.
“It is true that mixing various chemicals can sometimes produce dangerous results,” the CPD email said. “HOWEVER, prior to the memo being sent, neither the Carlton County Sheriff’s Office or the Cloquet Police Department had received any reports of this type of activity occurring in our area.
“We continue to urge caution and common sense when dealing with any suspicious items, including highway trash, and contact your local law enforcement agency and/or Carlton County Transportation Adopt A Highway if you have any concerns.”
Carlton County Director of Transportation Wayne Olson said he verified the truth of the warning through Snopes.com, a reputable Internet service that tracks and verifies email chain letters, hoaxes and more, before his department sent the warning to volunteers. However, he had no idea how much reaction the emailed warning would eventually garner.
Olson sent a safety warning clarification to the Pine Journal Tuesday, stressing that there have been no local reports of the prank and apologizing on behalf of the department for any alarm the email message triggered.