Montana authorities say a device they initially thought to be the remnants of a homemade bomb in an elementary school playground didn’t explode – and it wasn’t even a bomb.
Lewis and Clark County Sheriff Leo Dutton said Tuesday that further investigation found the plastic bottle wrapped in black tape was full of washers, nuts and bolts, along with a non-flammable unidentified liquid. There was no detonator attached to the bottle.
Dutton says a homeless person carried the bottle from a nearby construction site and left it in Helena’s Rossiter Elementary School playground.
Initially, authorities said the bottle was an improvised explosive device that detonated sometime before school began. Dutton says authorities passed on information they believed to be true at the time, and that school officials acted appropriately.
The school was evacuated and schools across Helena were locked down after the initial report.
Montana officials say lockdowns have been lifted at schools in the Helena area after searches turned up no further explosive devices.
Schools in Helena and East Helena were locked down and an elementary school was evacuated Tuesday morning after the remnants of a small homemade bomb were found on the playground.
A third-grader says the explosive device made a dent in the ground. Abigail Lee says she saw the device by a basketball hoop shortly before school staff told her to get away from the area.
Helena Superintendent Tyler Ream says the 490 students at Rossiter School were evacuated and walked several blocks to their evacuation area. School buses were brought in to keep the kids warm while they waited for their parents to pick them up.
By 11 a.m. about 40 Rossiter students remained at the evacuation area.
Montana authorities say they are searching for additional explosive devices after a small homemade bomb blew up in an elementary school playground in Helena.
Lewis and Clark County Sheriff Leo Dutton says school officials blocked off the area and phoned police minutes before classes began for the day around 8:20 a.m.
Dutton says it’s not clear exactly when the device exploded, but that no children were around when it did. The explosion did not damage any property.
Undersheriff Jason Grimmis says the explosive was in a soda bottle and wrapped with duct tape.
Authorities also are conducting sweeps of other schools, along with the state Capitol and government buildings.
Dutton says they don’t have a suspect or a motive for the explosion.
Montana authorities say an improvised explosive device blew up in an elementary school playground in Helena.
Lewis and Clark County Sheriff Leo Dutton told The Associated Press that nobody was injured when the explosive detonated at the Rossiter Elementary school playground Tuesday morning.
Dutton says no threat was made against the school prior to the explosion and authorities are investigating. It was not immediately clear if the explosion damaged any property.
Students are being evacuated from the school after authorities made sure the path was clear of other devices.
All schools in Helena and East Helena are locked down and are being searched by officers.
The FBI, the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives and the Montana Highway Patrol are assisting sheriff’s and Helena police officials in the investigation.
AP Only 2019