Bomb explodes at apartments, causing minimal damage

Nathan Halverson

A bomb exploded in the elevator of The Melrose apartment building in Stadium Village on Thursday afternoon.

No one was injured.

The bomb, which officials are calling a “MacGyver,” was one of five suspected bombs found in the apartment complex located at 2508 Delaware St. S.E.

The five bombs were placed in various locations around the inside of the building, which houses 467 people.

One was in an elevator. Another was found in a hallway, and three were placed in separate stairwells within the building.

Damage to the building was minimal, said Jennifer Rimkus, the complex’s managing director.

Three hours after the elevator explosion was reported, Tim Thomas, fire investigator for the Minneapolis Fire Department, was still finding the discharged bombs.

Thomas said the bombs erupted uniquely.

“It would be more of a spray than an explosion,” he said.

The bombs were contained in plastic bottles. One of the bottles, discovered by Daily reporters in a stairwell, was fixed in a 16-ounce Minute Maid bottle.

The Minneapolis police bomb squad was called because one of the devices appeared not to have gone off. Officers left after determining it had already discharged.

The bombs in the hallway and elevator melted carpet and marked the walls. The bombs in the stairwells left green stains on the floors and black marks on the walls.

Rimkus said the bombs in the stairwells and hallway probably went off in the early hours of the morning, between 2 a.m. and 7 a.m. Cleaning crews discovered the first bombs shortly after 7 a.m.

Thomas said if people had been around when the bombs discharged, they probably would have been injured.

“It would be a dangerous situation,” he said.

Thomas said he hasn’t seen anything like this elsewhere in Minneapolis. He said the spent bomb fuel was sent to the bomb squad’s laboratory for analysis.

Thomas wouldn’t comment about the bombs specifically, but a memo sent out by The Melrose said the bottles were “filled with chemicals and metal. The metal reacts with the chemical to produce gas and building pressure can cause the container to explode.”

Student reactions varied from fright to annoyance.

“It really alarms me,” journalism sophomore Sara Sillerud said. She said she will think twice before riding the elevators in the future.

Global studies and history sophomore Julia Cosgrove said, “It’s kind of creepy that someone is making stuff explode.”

College of Liberal Arts sophomore Carrie Barjenbruch said she heard the explosion.

“I thought, ‘Is that a gun?’ ” she said.

Other students were more blase.

“I’m not worried about getting harmed here,” said Krystle Skaalerud, an advertising and psychology senior.

Elementary education sophomore Katie Erickson said, “I don’t feel unsafe.”

Rimkus said the apartments were initiating a 24-hour security alert until further notice. They are also limiting building access and closing off all entrances except the front door.

“The word is out; every floor is being watched,” she said. “We’re taking necessary precautions to contain it.”

Mark Harries, co-CEO of Integroup Realty Trust, which manages the property, is offering $5,000 for information leading to the arrest and conviction of anyone involved.