With a loud bang that sounded like a gunshot, the Salt Lake County Fire Department's bomb squad successfully dismantled a makeshift bomb that was discovered in wire mesh trash basket at a self-service car wash Thursday.
The bomb, which turned out to be three road flares wrapped together with some batteries and wires, was noticed at 11 a.m. by a patron of the Buggy Bath car wash, 910 E. 3900 South.The man ran out to the street and flagged down a county sheriff's deputy who happened to be driving by to tell him what he'd found.
The car wash is owned and operated by Ivory Enterprises of Sandy, employee Steve West said. He was unaware of anyone who might have a complaint with the company.
Police and fire officials evacuated an adjacent business and shut down motorist access along 3900 South for about two hours while the bomb was first examined and then dismantled.
As it turned out, the bomb wasn't threatening but was crafted to appear that way, said Salt Lake County fire's Deputy Chief of Emergency Services Dennis Stanley.
"It was a hoax device, but whoever put it together took a little bit of thought. They wanted it to look real," Stanley said.
The bomb's creator left a message scrawled in magic marker across the front of the device, but Stanley would not say how it read.
"That's part of our investigation, part of our identification of who made the bomb," he said.
The details of just how a bomb squad dismantles such a device is also top secret, Stanley said. The squad investigates about 200 such devices a year, and about 90 of those actually turn out to be serious threats, he said.
"We don't want to say what (equipment) we've got," Stanley said. "Then they'll just figure out how to get around that."