Pipe bomb discovered near school

December 17, 2001 11:00 pm

By CHRIS COLLINS

Of the Baker City Herald

Huntington School students were sent home about 1 p.m. Monday while law enforcement officers dealt with a pipe bomb found lying in the street about a half a block from the school.

Classes were cancelled today to allow a thorough check of the school and grounds, according to Superintendent Gerald Hopkins.

The bomb was discovered by Greg Koenig about 8 a.m. It was lying in the street in front of Koenigs house at 290 E. Fulton St. The house is kitty-corner from the school on the street above, Hopkins said.

It could have done injury in a short radius, Hopkins said. Our main concern from the schools standpoint is safety first.

The Baker County Sheriffs Office was called and deputies cordoned off the area about 10:30 a.m., said Sheriff Troy Hale. Two Oregon State Police bomb disposal technicians from Pendleton also were dispatched, according to OSP Lt. Ray Duman.

The homemade bomb was built using black metal pipe filled with an explosive material and was to be detonated by fuse, Duman said. The bomb disposal technicians were able to remove the fuse and explosive material to render the bomb harmless.

The Baker County Sheriffs Office collected the material as evidence, Hale said.

The investigation is continuing into who placed it there, Hale said. We have a couple of leads.

Hopkins said he and principal Lance Dixon went through the school building Monday after students were released.

It amazed me how fast we got the students out, Hopkins said. Within five minutes we got them out and the school was cleared.

The kids handled it real well, he said. They made an orderly exit from the school.

Deputy Rich Kirby and Steve Phillips, a reserve deputy, made a sweep of the school today, Hale said.

The school will step up security as school resumes Wednesday, the superintendent said. The schools Christmas program is scheduled at 7 oclock Wednesday night. Those attending will be closely monitored as they enter the building, he said.

The school also will make use of its new intercom system to discuss the issue with students and to warn them against picking up strange objects, Hopkins added.

Safety is our main concern, he said. Were going to take every precaution necessary.

Hale said the outcome of the investigation will determine how his agency will proceed in helping monitor the school and community.

If we find anything else well tighten security more, he said.

Its kind of shocking for the city of Huntington, he added. But I dont want to see that anywhere.