Barnes’ father Raymond Barnes said he did not know exactly what happened but thought his son was “just silly, not thinking” and messing around with dry ice without realizing the severity of what might occur.
“Whatever it was, there was nothing sinister about it,” Barnes told KCBS-TV on Wednesday. “He’s a good kid. Never been in any trouble.”
Calls to the address Barnes shares with his father rang unanswered Wednesday and Thursday.
Dry-ice bombs are easy to make, and on a much smaller scale, are sometimes used as classroom chemistry demonstrations, said John Goodpaster, an explosives expert at the Purdue School of Science at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis.
The size of the explosion, however, can vary greatly depending on the container’s size, material and the amount of dry ice used, he said.
The devices could cause injuries to people nearby if the built-up pressure was high enough and included flying bottle shards, he said.
“This is a simple device. It’s not a pipe bomb filled with gunpowder, but it definitely will generate an explosion,” Goodpaster said. “If somebody was throwing something out, they could have been injured.”