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Bottle bomb explodes at Dickinson, Explorer elementary schools
At around 11:15 a.m., the King County Sheriff's public information officer's Twitter account stated, "Bomb deputies clear scene. Device was an acid bomb, commonly made by juveniles. It wasn't a sophisticated device."
Class begins at 9 a.m. so the incident occurred before any students were on campus. The two elementary schools are closed Monday for police activity as the King County Sheriff's Office performs a sweep of the campus for additional devices. In addition, nearby Evergreen Middle School (EMS) is on modified lockdown with classes as scheduled, though students will be staying inside the building.
Sgt. DB Gates with the sheriff's office said their sweep of both the elementary schools and middle school campus came up clean.
"There was nothing," she said regarding additional devices.
Gates added that the device was described to be in a two-liter soda bottle, but they cannot be sure until the KCSO's explosives response team looks at it.
Kathryn Reith, communications director for the Lake Washington School District (LWSD), said the two buses were parked in the Dickinson parking lot for a layover between their middle school and elementary school runs. She said one of the drivers had exited their bus to walk over to the second bus when the bomb exploded.
"Some kind of device went off," Reith said.
The driver was injured and taken to the hospital, though Reith said the injuries do not appear serious.
Reith said Dickinson and Explorer students who had arrived at the school on the bus have been taken to the gym at EMS (6900 208th Ave. N.E.), to be reunited with their parents.
Jenna Robbins, a nurse at Swedish Medical Center in downtown Seattle, drove to the school to pick up her daughter Rylie Robbins as soon as her husband called her with the news.
"He called me and said, 'I don't want you to get upset, but Rylie doesn't have school today,'" Robbins said. "And I guess there was some sort of explosion at the school. Some sort of hazmat issue."
She added, "Being a nurse, I basically just grabbed my stuff and came down here. But I was thinking it was more something with the school, maybe something in the science lab or in the kitchen."
Rylie, a fourth-grader at Dickinson, wasn't at school when the bomb exploded; her bus picks her up at 8:23 a.m. and she usually arrives at school just before school starts.
"There were lots of cop cars," she said, describing the scene. "And there were lots of people from Emily Dickinson traveling into Evergreen."
Rylie added that it was a bit scary for her.
"Because I didn't really know what was happening, so I was confused," she said.
Jenna said Rylie told her there were lots of rumors being spread among the students about what happened and she told her daughter the truth: someone was injured in the explosion.
"I wanted to make sure she's OK emotionally. These things can be really, really scary," said Jenna, adding that they're praying for the injured driver and their family and hoping that the driver will heal quickly.
The Reporter will update this story as more information becomes available.