Police at Brigham Young University in Utah had to give an unconventional warning to students this weekend: “Keep your experiments in the lab.” The warning came after a student living in one of the college’s dorms attempted to make homemade rocket fuel, and instead created a fireball that engulfed the walls.
The failed do-it-yourself project occurred Sunday afternoon, BYU Police said. They said the unnamed resident had been making homemade rocket fuel on their stove “when the volatile mixture suddenly exploded into a fireball.”
“The flames from the explosion had engulfed the walls and ceiling around the stove and the intense heat tripped the fire sprinkler system,” police said. “Firefighters quickly secured the scene and were able to put out the remnants from the fire.”
Photos released by campus police show explosion marks on the stove hood, cabinets and the ceiling. The tripped sprinkler system also caused significant flooding, with the living room — which features an open-lidded toilet next to the couch — appearing to be covered in inches of water.
Police said nobody was injured, but 22 dorm residents had to be displaced because of “extensive damage to the building.”
“Please keep your experiments in the lab and supervised by trained professionals,” police said, referring to the incident as “Rocket Man.” “…It is clear that this situation could have been much worse and we are grateful that no one was injured.”
According to CBS affiliate KUTV, the person responsible for the incident is a 22-year-old man. Police told the station that it’s unclear why he was making the fuel.
“We don’t have the answer today, until our investigation is done, of what he was actually going to do with this,” BYU Police spokesperson Jeff Long said. He does not believe there was any harmful intent with the fuel, but said that criminal charges are possible.
“We’re not going to rule that out,” Long told KUTV. “I mean, this was definitely reckless.”