Bomb scare empties airport Home Depot

They say it looked like sticks of dynamite; read what authorities say they actually found in this home improvement store‚

As the crew of Portland Fire & Rescue Engine 12 prepares to leave, employees and shoppers head back into the Home Depot store on N.E. Glenn Widing Drive — after standing in the heat on Portland’s hottest July 10 in history.

Story and photos by David F. Ashton
Authorities speculate it was a prank that cleared the Home Depot store, just north of NE Airport Way, just after 4:00 p.m. on July 10.

But it wasn’t a laughing matter to the customers and employees of the store‚ made to wait outside, on the scorching parking lot pavement, for more than an hour‚ in 104 degree heat.

Portland Fire & Rescue spokesman John Hill said fire crews were initially sent out on a call about a fire in a bathroom. When they investigated, they found a “suspicious package there with, what looked like sticks of dynamite with fuses.”

After the bomb squad finds smoke bombs, not high explosives, police break down their safety perimeter around the store. In the background, workers take shelter from the blazing sun in the shadow of the closed CompUSA store.

After fighting their way through late-afternoon traffic, the Portland Police Bureau’s bomb squad investigated the potential bomb. Their conclusion: the sticks were, most likely, a commercial smoke bomb.

Officials say there was no danger of an explosion, and no one was hurt.

© 2007 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News Service

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