A homemade explosive device believed to be made of a bottle and toilet bowl cleaner was detonated early this morning outside an Augustana College residence hall, but campus authorities do not believe it was a danger to anyone.
The explosion happened about 3 a.m. outside of Westerlin Hall, college spokeswoman Keri Rursch said this afternoon. An Augustana staffer saw something thrown from a Westerlin window, and when the object hit the ground there was a small explosion and some smoke.
The employee called police, and the investigation determined the object appeared to have been a bottle that had been filled with toilet bowl cleaner and tin foil, Ms. Rursch said. The object was not filled with anything that would have served as shrapnel.
No injuries or damage was reported, she said. There was no evacuation because the explosion happened outside.
She said it was not believed to have been a threat, but college authorities are not disregarding the incident.
"We are at a time in history when we take every threat seriously," Ms. Rursch said.
A student was identified as possibly being involved, she said. She would not identify the student in more detail.
A representative of the Rock Island Police Department could not immediately be reached for contact.
Today is Wednesday, Dec. 11, the 345th day of 2013. There are 20 days left in the year. 1863 — 150 years ago: The message of Abraham Lincoln, read in congress yesterday, is published in full in our paper today, with a new proclamation relating the terms upon which states can return to the union. 1888 — 125 years ago: An appropriation has been made by congress for the improvement of the upper Mississippi River with $200,000 set aside for the portion of the river between Keokuk and the mouth of the Illinois River. 1913 — 100 years ago: Work of remodeling First Swedish Lutheran Church at 4th Avenue and 14th Street was nearly completed. 1938 — 75 years ago: An unexplained outbreak of tularemia (rabbit fever) in the state has Illinois public health officials puzzled. Ten persons have died, and 243 are officially reported ill with the infection. 1963 — 50 years ago: A dramatic, multi-million dollar riverfront improvement project for the downtown area of Rock Island was unveiled at a meeting of 200 civic leaders at noon today. 1988 — 25 years ago: For several supporters of the Dispatch Goodfellow/Argus Santa program their donation is a year long project. Emma Pugh and Anne Persinger spent a good part of their spare time this year knitting forty pairs of mittens and slippers.