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Disneyland employee held in Toontown 'dry ice bomb' explosion

Christian Barnes, 22, was booked on suspicion of possession of a destructive device and is being held in lieu of $1-million bail. The explosion Tuesday forced the evacuation of Toontown.

May 29, 2013|By Andrew Blankstein, Los Angeles Times
  • Christian Barnes, accused of exploding a so-called dry ice bomb in a Toontown trash can at Disneyland, could have gotten the dry ice from within the park, according to a company official.
Christian Barnes, accused of exploding a so-called dry ice bomb in a Toontown… (Anaheim Police Department )

A 22-year-old Disneyland employee was arrested on suspicion of setting off a so-called dry ice bomb in the Toontown section of the park, forcing the child-friendly area to be evacuated, Anaheim police said Wednesday.

Long Beach resident Christian Barnes, an outdoor vending "cast member," was booked on suspicion of possession of a destructive device and is being held in lieu of $1-million bail.

The explosion in a trash can was reported Tuesday evening and forced the evacuation of Toontown for two hours while police investigators and the Orange County Sheriff's Department's bomb squad moved through the amusement park.

No one was injured, and there were no reports of damage, but the explosion caused some brief chaos in a Disneyland location that features Roger Rabbit's Car Toon Spin and other attractions aimed at youngsters.

Anaheim police initially examined the possibility that the device was related to other incidents in recent months involving dry ice explosions in the city.

But after gathering evidence and interviewing park patrons and employees — as well as reviewing security surveillance video — Barnes emerged as the suspect.

"Barnes is cooperating with investigators and has indicated this is an isolated incident with unanticipated impacts," Anaheim police Sgt. Bob Dunn said after the arrest Wednesday morning.

Neither Barnes, who was in custody and not available for comment, nor immediate members of his family commented on the incident. In his North Long Beach neighborhood Wednesday, one neighbor described Barnes as a "good kid."

"This is a good family and a good neighborhood," said the woman, who declined to be identified.

As an outdoor vending "cast member," as Disney employees are called, Barnes would have had access to dry ice that vendors use to keep park refreshments such as ice cream and sodas cold.

Investigators believe the dry ice was placed in a plastic water bottle, and pressure that built up in the container caused an explosion about 5:30 p.m.

Disneyland spokeswoman Suzi Brown would not discuss details of the incident but said in a prepared statement: "We take matters like this very seriously and are working closely with local authorities."

Neither Anaheim police nor Disney officials would discuss whether they considered the dry ice bomb a prank or something more serious.

Dunn would only say that while it took "some knowledge to construct something like this," Barnes did not appear to be aware of the potential consequences of his actions.

"This is a very serious incident with very serious consequences that could include the injury or death of people," Dunn said.

andrew.blankstein@latimes.com

Times staff writers Ruben Vives and Joseph Serna contributed to this report.

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