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Explosive device, gasoline found in burned student’s apartment
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Explosive device, gasoline found in burned student’s apartment

Investigators find Molotov cocktail inside burned student's apartment

Explosive device, gasoline found in burned student’s apartment

A suspected Molotov cocktail and several plastic bottles filled with gasoline and kerosene were found in the Midtown apartment of a Georgia Tech graduate student severely burned, police said Wednesday.

Saamer Akhshabi remains in Grady Memorial Hospital with third-degree burns over 90 percent of his body from the fire started in his apartment Tuesday afternoon in the 200 block of 10th Street, police said.

Late Tuesday night, it wasn’t known what caused the fire. But an FBI spokesman said the man’s burns were possibly from an incendiary device.

“At this time, we are assisting in furthering the investigation to determine how the male received the injuries and how the fire started,” Officer John Chafee with Atlanta police said.

Several investigators were outside the apartment building late Tuesday. A resident of a nearby apartment, George Greenlee, said he was told to evacuate.

In addition to what police described as a Molotov cocktail — a container filled with flammable material, and often topped with a make-shift fuse — police said several gasoline- or kerosene-filled bottles were found in the apartment.

Police reported the incident to U.S. Homeland Security, and a police SWAT team, and agents with the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and the FBI were called in.

A spokesman for Georgia Tech said the institute is working with law enforcement officials.

“Our primary concern is to provide appropriate assistance to the victim and for his family as well as his classmates,” Matt Nagel, Tech spokesman, said in an emailed statement Tuesday night. “We continue to cooperate with the investigation.”

Akhshabi is studying in the College of Computing at Tech, where he has attended since 2009, according to his web page. He was scheduled to graduate in May, Nagel said Wednesday. Prior to moving to Atlanta, Akhshabi completed his undergraduate degree at the University of Tehran in Iran.

— Photographer Ben Gray contributed to this report.

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