Two chemical bombs exploding in front of a Palo Alto home on the 700 block of De Soto Drive woke residents at 12:57 a.m. Friday (Dec. 31) morning.
The blast was heard a block away, but did not cause damage to the home or any persons. The acid might have burned people's skin if contact was made, Palo Alto police Lt. Sandra Brown said.
Police determined the bombs were most likely a juvenile prank and were crudely made. The targeted family has had their house egged and toilet papered in the past. Two young adults about ages 19 or 20 live there, she said.
Residents who heard the explosions, including the occupants of the targeted home, heard two loud bangs back to back, but did not call police.
At 7:15 a.m., the home's occupants looked outside and saw three water bottles in the front yard. Two had exploded and liquid was draining onto the lawn, which was slightly singed; a third unexploded bottle lay in the walkway to the front door, Brown said. The residents decided to call police at 12:22 p.m.
The Palo Alto Fire Department tested the liquid and found it to be an acid. A ball of aluminum about the size of a quarter had been placed in each bottle and turned black, perhaps as part of the chemical reaction. Brown said the balls were intact and lay outside the exploded bottles on the grass.
Police called the Santa Clara County bomb squad, which provided instructions for neutralizing the acid.
The bottles were collected; police will check for fingerprints or DNA and could retain the bottles for comparison or as evidence, she said.