This spring’s unsettling, and apparently unconnected, series of area pipe-bomb explosions reached a south Valley neighborhood this week.
An explosion rocked a portable toilet early Wednesday in the Autumn Crest development. The blast flattened the outhouse at a construction site near 21st Avenue and Progress Road and awoke nearby residents.
“It was no little firework, that’s for sure,” said Aron Heartberg, whose bedroom window faced the blast.
Neighbors said teenagers may have been responsible for the 1:15 a.m. blast that scattered parts of the outhouse as far as 200 feet. At least one person heard a car speed off after the explosion.
Residents also speculated that the explosion may have been someone testing a pipe bomb to see what it would do. Teenagers from nearby neighborhoods have talked about building a pipe bomb, they said.
Authorities have that information. As yet no suspects and no motives have been disclosed.
The blast marked the third time in the past month that Valley structures have been targeted by bombs and was the fourth in the Spokane area during that period.
It was the first one to explode in a residential neighborhood since a pipe bomb destroyed a car parked in front of a North Side apartment complex in January.
Wednesday’s Autumn Crest blast left neighbors scratching their heads.
A Washington State Patrol trooper and a paramedic live in the neighborhood, making it the last place resident Trevor Delmedico expected a bomb to explode. The state patrol car sits in front of the trooper’s house.
“That’s really scary,” Delmedico said. “This is a great neighborhood.”
Construction superintendent Jerry Nelson made sure to check every inch of the house he was building across the street from the twisted outhouse before beginning work Wednesday.
“It’s unsettling - especially this week,” Nelson said. “There’s getting to be a little bit too much of this stuff going on.”
Early Monday, Spokane City Hall was the target of a bomber. A pipe bomb filled with nails and screws shattered glass on the building’s front doors and scattered shrapnel more than two blocks.
Two pipe bombs rocked the Valley last month. The first damaged the basement of The SpokesmanReview’s Valley office on April 1. Minutes later, a second one exploded inside the U.S. Bank branch at Sprague Avenue and Mullan Road.
Pipe bombs are easy and inexpensive to build, said sheriff’s Lt. Danny O’Dell, who oversees the bomb unit.
“There isn’t a bomb made that isn’t dangerous,” he said.
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