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Pop bottle explosions cause Spokane school evacuation

UPDATED: Wed., Jan. 23, 2013, 1:01 p.m.

Ferris High School students sent home early

Two pop bottles exploded this morning inside Spokane’s Ferris High School, prompting officials to evacuate the school.

The first bottle blew up near the start of the school day today in a hallway. Several hours later, a second device exploded in the school commons as emergency crews examined the liquid in the first bottle.

The school began evacuations after the second explosion. No one was seriously injured, but some people were treated for respiratory issues or skin irritations. No one was taken to the hospital, authorities said.

Brad Arleth, commander of the field operations bureau for the Spokane police, said he believes the intent was not to cause harm, but to disrupt school for the day.

“It is finals week,” said Terren Roloff, Spokane Public Schools spokeswoman. “They’ll have to make up their tests.”

Authorities believe household chemicals were mixed together and put in the 2-liter bottles, but neither the police department or Spokane Fire Department officials could say yet what chemicals were used. When the caps are put on, pressure builds in the bottles until they explode. They’re not very dangerous, but they are loud, police and fire officials said.

Several students are being questioned, but authorities have not found the guilty party. Somebody could face criminal charges, including reckless endangerment, police said.

Students who ride the bus will be taken home on regular routes, a news release from Spokane Public Schools said.

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