Experiment gone wrong: Explosion in BYU as student attempts to brew rocket fuel in dorm

Experiment gone wrong: Explosion in BYU as student attempts to brew rocket fuel in dorm
Images of the damage caused by a student's home experiment at BYU (BYU Police Department/Facebook)

A science experiment proved to be very costly for one student at Brigham Young University (BYU) after it caused "excessive damage" to a dorm on campus. An unidentified student, dubbed "Rocket Man" by the police, reportedly attempted to brew rocket fuel in his dorm stove. The result was certainly explosive, causing a lot of chaos and damage on February 20, 2022. 

Thankfully, it appears that the student was not injured, with the BYU Police Department noting "no one was injured". However, things have gone wrong in the past. In August 2019, a 15-year-old was hospitalized with third-degree burns after a chemistry experiment at school. In a March 2021 botched experiment, an Illinois high school teacher ended up burning a student's chest and groin. The same month, a Michigan student injured six after detonating a homemade explosive inside a classroom. 


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Police said the explosion took place at BYU's Heritage Halls Building 4 and has for now displaced 22 students at the building in Provo, Utah. It's unclear where they will be housed in the meantime, but it appears as if the student responsible could be in trouble.

Provo firefighters respond after an explosion at Heritage Halls Building 4 at Brigham Young University (BYU Police Department/Facebook)


'Please keep your experiments in the lab'

CNN reported that the person behind the botched experiment is a 22-year-old male, who was trying to "recreate something he found online." Reportedly, the home experiment was to brew five pounds of rocket fuel as a passion project. Police Lt Jeff Long told CNN that the fuel overheated, "causing a fireball to erupt in the kitchen." That triggered the sprinklers in the building, leading to Provo firefighters being notified.

"It was definitely poor judgment on this person," Long said, adding, "He didn't think this through." Thankfully, many students were not in the building at the time because of the weekend. "It is clear that this situation could have been much worse," police added. The full extent of the damage is yet to be determined, and will likely also determine if the student will be charged or not. For now, no charges have been filed. Long said that "once the investigation is completed, it will be sent to the prosecutor to determine if charges will be filed."

'Kid hopes to work for SpaceX'

In a Facebook post, the department acknowledged the incident, and wrote, "Please keep your experiments in the lab and supervised by trained professionals." That post also drew widespread criticism of the student, with people commenting, "Good grief.... What a mess. Hope they are held accountable for damages," and "Some people lack common sense."

There were also a few that saw the funny side of the situation, leading to comments like, "Kid hopes to work for SpaceX," and "So this is why those shows always say "Do NOT try this at home!"

The jokes also continued on Twitter with comments like, "I don't think he's getting the security deposit back," and "At least this is better than making meth at The Riviera Apartments." A user replied, "This is bordering on Florida Man vibes. Let’s get them where they really belong." One person tweeted, "It all started with a big bang..."






Many users also pointed out the toilet in the living room, which has quickly gone on to become the biggest mystery of the story. 

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