Nova Scotia

Halifax police detonate 'volatile substance' at apartment in city's south end

Halifax police say there are no criminal charges pending and no further risk to the public.

Police say substance was rubbing alcohol that had aged well beyond its best-before date

Halifax Regional Police blew up an expired household chemical after being called Wednesday night to a report of a "volatile substance" in a unit of a south-end apartment building.

Police initially refused to identify the chemical but said later Thursday morning it was isopropyl alcohol, more commonly known as rubbing alcohol. Police said it had aged well beyond its best-before date and changed from a liquid into a solid.

The call to the 1100 block of Tower Road was made around 10:30 p.m.

According to the website for the Canadian Centre for Occupational Health and Safety, certain alcohols, such as isopropyl alcohol, can form explosive peroxide substances when they become concentrated over time and solidify.

"Exposure to light and heat can increase the rate of peroxide formation," says the website.

It also says if there are crystals in the bottle, do not handle the container and instead contact emergency services.

The police's forensic identification section thought the substance was too unstable to transport and instead decided it should be detonated outside the building.

The explosives detonation unit arrived, put it in a special bag, took it outside and detonated it around 1:30 a.m Thursday.

Police say there is no further risk to the public and no criminal charges will be laid.