‘Bottle bomb’ scares many at Ron Russell Middle School

While it caused an uproar, find out what actually happened, and how students and staff members were affected by the bomb blast …

Two hours after the incident, it again  looks calm at Ron Russell Middle School, here in the Powellhurst-Gilbert Neighborhood.

Story by David F. Ashton
School started with a bang on March 1, when a “bottle bomb” detonation disrupted students and staff at Ron Russell Middle School, in the David Douglas School District.

Shortly after 8:00 a.m., Portland Police Bureau (PPB) officers and the Portland Fire & Rescue (PF&R) HazMat Team rolled up to this Powellhurst-Gilbert Neighborhood school, located between SE Foster Road and SE Powell Boulevard, at 3955 NE 112th Avenue.

Portland Fire & Rescue’s HazMat unit rolls up to the school. Dick Harris, PF&R photo

Children wait outside for the “all clear” signal to reenter and head back to class. Dick Harris, PF&R photo

Emergency responders were answering a call, reporting a small bottle bomb incident in a bathroom, according to PPB Public Information Officer Sgt. Peter Simpson. A bomb technician from the Metropolitan Explosives Disposal Unit was also dispatched to the scene.
“Three middle school children and a janitor were affected by fumes,” reported Simpson. “They received treatment from medical personnel at the scene. Their injuries are not life threatening.”

Firefighters investigate the restroom where the bomb was set off. Dick Harris, PF&R photo

Bu the time we arrived on scene, investigators had already determined that the explosion was caused by a “caustic bottle bomb”, Simpson reported.

“Under Portland City Code 14A.60.040, a bottle bomb is defined as any sealed device containing dry ice (CO2) or other chemically reactive substances assembled for the purpose of causing an explosion by chemical reaction,” Simpson explained.

It’s clear to see the “bomb” didn’t damage this second-floor restroom; the debris looks like a gooey, melted plastic bottle. Dick Harris, PF&R photos
As of this writing, no arrests have been made in this incident, Simpson concluded. “Portland School Police and Portland Fire Bureau Arson Investigators are continuing to investigate.”

© 2011 David F. Ashton ~ East Portland News

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