HILLSBORO, Ore. – Two Oregon schools were put on lockdown Tuesday morning after a worker found several explosive devices at Reedville Creek Park near the schools.
A Hillsboro park employee initially reported an “explosion” around 9:25 a.m. when a water bottle containing a corrosive liquid blew its top, and police eventually located a total of five plastic bottles throughout the area, home to Reedville Skate Park, The Oregonian reports.
Hillsboro Police Lt. Henry Reimann told the Hillsboro Tribune no one was injured by the devices – which consisted of reactive chemicals in two 16-ounce water bottles, two quart sized bottles and a half-gallon or gallon container. He said investigators believe students were likely involved.
“What we found were five explosive devices. Not like a bomb … bottles filled with corrosive agents and aluminum foil,” he said. “When you shake them they produce heat and you get an explosion.
“Long story short, remember in chemistry with dry ice? Something like that.”
Officials put R.A. Brown Middle School and nearby Ladd Acres Elementary School on lockdown for about a half an hour while the Portland Explosive Ordinance Disposal Squad disposed of the remaining four bottles. R.A. Brown is located directly across the street from the park, the Tribune reports.
Authorities did not identify the “corrosive liquid” in the bottle, but a KGW news video shows what appears to be a bottle of cleaner at the scene, as well as a greenish fluid in the bottles.
Riemann told KATU the bomb squad used a water cannon to disable the devices, which were left near the portable toilets late Monday or early Tuesday.
Dave Ward, who lives near the park, is seriously concerned about the discovery.
“People can get hurt. The ain’t a game. This is where serious people can get seriously hurt. This stuff, when it blows up, it can burn you right to the bone, make you blind,” he told the television station. “It’s always concerning when you have a situation where a little kid could get off school or could be going to school and get hurt, you know.”
Hillsboro schools spokeswoman Beth Graser told The Oregonian school officials alerted middle school students about the incident during their third period, and warned them not to handle strange objects. They also asked for tips about the morning incident.
District officials contacted parents about the incident, as well, she said.
Several people who commented about the incident online seemed to think authorities overreacted to the situation.
“Seems disingenuous to call these ‘explosives,’” Westuritto posted in The Oregonian comments. “Very, very click baity. They were like a step up from Mentos and Coke in the Anarchist cookbook.”
“Explosive devices? A corrosive liquid? The top of a bottle popped off?” willybefriendly questioned. “That’s it? The lid of a bottle popped off so a school was placed on lockdown?”
“The sky is falling. Oh my! Oh my!” And That’s the Truth wrote. “The last thing needed was for this to even be in the news.”
“’Five bottles containing a corrosive liquid.’ Sounds like vinegar and baking soda,” outersepdx added. “Oh my! Run for the hills!”