Explosive devices detonated in port-a-potties; RI fire marshal investigating

South County

CHARLESTOWN, R.I. (WPRI) — Jason Mottle – who has been working at a construction site in Westerly – was shocked when he arrived at his worksite and found a portable toilet in pieces.

“I’ve seen many other things happen to port-a-potties but never an explosion,” Mottle said. “The port-a-potty was blown up into a million pieces.”

The State Fire Marshal Timothy McLaughlin said that portable toilet – along with another one in Charlestown – were destroyed after someone planted explosive devices inside of them on Saturday.

McLaughlin said no one was injured in either incident. His office – along with local police and the Federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives – is investigating.

Both incidents occurred on private property, and McLaughlin said it was not widespread or connected to terrorist activity.

The portable toilets were owned by the same company. A manager for that company tells Eyewitness News they are cooperating with the investigation.

McLaughlin said the person who caused the explosions could end up facing federal charges. A reward of up to $5,000 is being offered for information that leads to an arrest and conviction of whoever is responsible.

Meanwhile, Mottle was able to find a silver lining.

“Most importantly, they cleaned the port-a-potty the day before,” he said.

Anyone with information is asked to call the state bomb squad hotline at 401-383-7723.

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