Molotov cocktail is a first for longtime officer

SALEM – In 32 years on the police force, Lt. Don Beeson said he does not remember responding to a call for a Molotov cocktail.

But while leaving a business on South Broadway Avenue at about 1:15 p.m. Thursday, he looked down the street, saw a small fire and drove his supervisor’s vehicle to the 400 block where he found a broken glass bottle next to the flames.

The flammable substance had burned long enough and hot enough that asphalt had melted to the pieces of glass.

What appeared to be a patch of burned cloth used for a wick was in the splatter and burn pattern that made it appear the bottle had been thrown or pitched from a southwesterly direction or from a northbound vehicle.

Two young men walked by and Beeson asked if they knew anything about it.

One replied “no” adding they had just returned from Lisbon but offered to clean it up.

There are no suspects and the fact it was in the street in front of a vacant lot with no apparent target is puzzling.

Beeson wondered if it was the beginning of something.

“We’re getting more big city stuff in town every day,” he said.

What was left of the bottle shows that it was a 20 oz. Calypso Triple Melon drink.

A Molotov cocktail is a generic name used for a variety of improvised incendiary weapons and the named is derived from Finland after the Soviet Union invaded the country in 1939.

Molotov was the Soviet foreign minister at the time.

Beeson tried to come up with something but said this was the first Molotov cocktail report in his memory.

The street department cleaned up the broken glass.

Anyone who may have seen anything or with information should call the Salem police at 330-337-7811.