Potentially dangerous substance at UCLA campus safely detonated

WESTWOOD, LOS ANGELES (KABC) -- Los Angeles police and bomb squad officials detonated a jar containing a potentially dangerous chemical at UCLA in Westwood on Saturday.

Acting out of an abundance of caution, the LAPD Bomb Squad detonated the 6-ounce jar of what officials determined was picric acid.

Someone took the substance to a household hazardous waste drop-off in the 600 block of S. Gayley Avenue, where LAFD officials responded at about 10:30 a.m.

Investigators said picric acid can be explosive, especially when it crystalizes. It has industrial and medical uses, and it was once used for manufacturing explosives, officials said.

After realizing what they were dealing with, UCLA police stopped traffic and cleared the area until the bomb squad, LAPD and LAFD disposed of the acid.

"Picric acid, when it's dry, it has the potential to explode, and it'll cause a pretty fair explosion and flying glass and it could hurt somebody pretty bad," said Sgt. Brian Washburn of UCLA police.

Officials said they cleared the situation without injuries, but added that the substance is not something that should be taken to a household hazardous waste drop.
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