Police have been issuing statements in the weeks leading up to and following July 4 activities, warning residents of the danger of “tennis ball bombs” that are commonly found around the holiday.
A tennis ball bomb is a tennis ball that has been cut open and filled with up to thousands of match heads or firecrackers. A fuse is then attached to the tennis ball, and it is then lit or thrown so that it explodes.
The first warning came as a response to someone asking how to identify a tennis ball bomb at a community meeting leading up to the July 4 holiday. The Kent Police Department responded to the question in a Facebook post.
“A tennis ball bomb is very easy to identify. It is a real tennis ball that has some sort of fuse sticking out of it,” the post read. “The tennis ball could also be completely wrapped in duct tape with a fuse sticking out.”
A tennis ball bomb was recently found in a Washington state park last February, but no injuries were reported after the discovery.
However, one dog had to be put down after a tennis ball bomb exploded in its mouth in 2000. According to CBS News, the owner of the deceased dog found the tennis ball on the ground and threw it to his pet, who then bit down on the ball, causing it to blow up in its face.
“People light them, leave them thinking it’s a dud, but who knows what’s happening on the inside. Then a dog comes and picks it up,” said Kent police spokesman Jarod Kasner. “Unfortunately, dogs pick up everything in their mouth and bring it to you.”
If you think that you have found a tennis ball bomb in your neighborhood, do not attempt to move it. Instead, call authorities and keep an eye on it to make sure that nobody else in the area picks it up by accident.
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