It looked like a scene from a Hollywood movie, but the explosions set off in Chicago on Thursday had a very serious purpose: to educate.
More than 100 bomb technicians, first responders and corporate security personnel from throughout the Midwest got a first-hand look at the improvised explosive devices that have done so much damage in Iraq and Afghanistan.
"The FBI remains fully committed to sharing knowledge with our partners about the threat of improvised explosives in the fight against potential terror attacks," said Dr. Vahid Majidi, the Assistant Director of the FBI's Weapons of Mass Destruction Directorate.
The demonstration culminated a three-day seminar to raise awareness of the threat to both law enforcement agencies and private corporations.
Many of the bombs detonated Thursday were made from simple, everyday materials available at grocery and hardware stores, and that's what makes them so dangerous to first-responders.
"The availability of raw materials is the crux of the problem for us now. We need to reach out to the people who manufacture and retail these products and raise their awareness of the dangers," said Donald Sachtlegen, an FBI consultant who investigated the Unabomber.