Video by Louis C. Hochman

On a bright, sunny and chilly Tuesday afternoon a series of loud and powerful bomb blasts rocked a section of Edison.

Law enforcement did not respond to the scene — because they were already there, setting off the explosive devices themselves.

The FBI’s Newark office held an explosives forum and demonstration for state and local law enforcement personnel, first-responders, representatives from private sector manufacturing and chemical companies and the media.

Bomb experts explained how common products like Vaseline, brake fluid, cooking oil and chlorine used in swimming pools can be combined with various other chemicals to create highly powerful and dangerous explosive devices.

The FBI requested media not share the particular combinations used — there's enough such information already out there for people planning on causing trouble or harm. Forum participants — some of whom sell or handle such chemicals daily in their work — got a lot more specifics.

Timothy A Gallagher, special agent in charge of the FBI in Newark, said it’s important to bring law enforcement, first-responders and private sector leaders together “to physically and visually look at something. It gives you more of an idea of how dangerous these chemicals can be.”

“What we want to be able to do is talk to both government agencies as well as the private sector to ensure we have as many eyes and ears out there looking for suspicious activity, so that we can deter and detect any type of terrorist activity that may happen in the state of New Jersey,” said Kevin Conklin, supervisory special agent of the Newark FBI Joint Terrorism Task Force.

He stressed “our hope is that by educating the public and people that deal with chemicals like this, when they do see something suspicious they’ll know who to call, what to do, and hopefully we can mitigate whatever threat is out there as soon as possible.”

Gallagher said “unfortunately there are folks out there who seek to do us harm, and these are the types of items they are looking to get a hold of to do so.”

Conklin added “the FBI is doing everything we can to make New Jersey as safe as possible, but like we’ve always said, it’s an approach that’s going to take everybody to cooperate with one another. To keep our nation safe and the state of New Jersey safe we need the support of the citizens as well as private companies.”

Following the demonstration, Lut. Commander Garrett Meyer, the commanding cfficer of the Coast Guard Station in New York, said he was impressed by what he saw.

“It’s pretty incredible that a large explosion can come from such a little bit of initial material. It doesn’t take a lot to be very dangerous and this type of scenario helps us understand who to contact to deal with the situation,” he said. “It’s important to know what we’re up against, and it’s important for us to build relationships with our partner agencies and the public as well as commercial, private industry.”

Sign up for the Newsletter

Get the best of delivered to your inbox every day.