Local news

Explosives devices ignited at CdA school

FRIDAY, SEPT. 10, 2010

No one was injured and no damage was reported after three small explosive devices were found detonated near Coeur d’Alene High School’s football field Thursday morning.

After the school resource officer learned about the explosives around 10 a.m. and contacted police, the school was locked down, Coeur d’Alene police Sgt. Christie Wood said.

Authorities swept the building, which reopened about 11:15 a.m., Wood said.

She described the explosives as “small and crudely made.” All three were made of rolls of red paper cap gun tape wrapped into a ball shape and held together with electrical tape.

There might have been fireworks inside to act as a detonator when lit, a police department news release said. One device was the size of a soccer ball; the other two were the size of a softball.

One device was found near the north entrance to the football field and two were near the south entrance, Wood said.

During the investigation, police reviewed calls from Wednesday night and discovered one at 7:39 p.m. from a custodian working at the high school who reported hearing an explosion to the east, the release said. Officers responded to the general area but did not find anything.

Superintendent Hazel Bauman said the school district first learned of the potential threat Thursday morning.

“Had we known about this (Wednesday) night, we would have swept the building prior to school starting and have avoided a lockdown,” Bauman said in a prepared statement. “We will debrief with the Coeur d’Alene Police Department to make sure we did everything possible to ensure student safety, which at this point, I believe we did.”

Wood said it is “uncommon” for the Coeur d’Alene police to receive calls about explosives. However, on Aug. 27, someone left a briefcase with explosives in it about two blocks from the Kootenai County Fairgrounds, which is about a mile from the high school. The words “Warning do not touch” and “Boom” were written on the case.

The Spokane County Bomb Squad detonated the device safely.

Wood said police have uncovered no connection between the two incidents. The explosive found near the fairgrounds was a pipe bomb made with commercial grade detonators, the release said.

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