IED detonates at Helena school; no injuries reported

Ruben Fields
October 18, 2019

An improvised explosive device blew up in an elementary school playground in Helena on Tuesday just before classes began, authorities said, causing no injuries but leaving investigators to puzzle over what was behind the explosion in Montana's quiet capital city.

As a precaution, other schools in the district were placed on lockdown and later cleared when law enforcement found no threats. Buses are at the Little Red School House to keep the kids warm while they wait for their parents.

"I didn't get too close of a look because once they came over, I just barely noticed it when they came over, and then they said that we had to get away from that area, just in case", Lee said.

Some 490 students were evacuated to a nearby area where they could be picked up by their parents.

(1st Report, 9:19 a.m.) Lewis & Clark County Sheriff Leo Dutton says traffic is being diverted around Sierra Road in the Helena Valley after a report that a possible explosive device was discovered. No suspect or motive was identified. Rossiter is closed for the day-status for school tomorrow at Rossiter is yet to be determined.

Dutton said there were no warning calls to law enforcement or the schools in the area before the device was found.

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An investigation found the plastic bottle wrapped in black electrical tape was full of washers, nuts and bolts, along with a non-flammable unidentified liquid, Dutton said. Classes at Helena College have been canceled for the remainder of the day and students have been asked to go home.

Rossiter is expected to reopen to students on Wednesday.

The Lewis and Clark Co.

By 11 a.m. about 40 Rossiter students remained at the evacuation area.

In addition to the Lewis & Clark Sheriff's deputies and bomb squad, the FBI, Montana Highway Patrol, Helena Police Department, and Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, and Firearms are at the scene.

This story is developing.

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