Pipe Bomb DiscoveryTriggers School Evacuation, FBI Investigation

Weathered Pipe Bomb Detonated Feet From Hermantown School

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Hermantown Police are shocked and concerned after finding a live pipe bomb just 30 feet from a school.

“Looked a lot like a pipe bomb, and it turned out that it was,” said Hermantown Police Deputy Chief Shawn Padden.

The bomb scare forced 30 students and staff to evacuate the building as authorities moved in on the device.

At this point in the investigation, police do not believe the school was a target for any sort of terrorism, but continue to investigate the strange and alarming situation.

“It’s very unsettling to find a device like this at a daycare, obviously,” said Deputy Chief Padden.

What started as an average Wednesday morning at the Hermantown Area Family Resource Center quickly took a turn for the worse.

It was just before school started when a parent was dropping off their child, and noticed something suspicious in this snowbank.

He went inside to tell staff who called 911.

When emergency crews found out what it actually was, they were all surprised.

“The kids were really never aware that there was an emergency,” said community education director at Hermantown/Proctor schools, Molly Johnson. “We got all the children to the back of the building and the police recommended that we evacuate the building.”

Thanks to a solid emergency plan, within minutes, two dozen toddlers, teachers and parents went out the back door, onto a school bus, and into a nearby hockey arena so police could search the building.

“We keep the kids blissfully ignorant,” said Johnson. “We never told the kids that there was an emergency. We told them that they were going on a field trip and that this was an adventure.”

It was an adventure that ended with a safely detonated pipe bomb.

The question of how the weathered but active explosive ended up at a school, and who it belongs to remains a mystery.

“We suspect it may have fallen out of somebody’s vehicle that was in the parking lot for whatever reason,” said Padden. “It might have gotten plowed in here with last week’s snowfall.”

The Crow Wing County Bomb Squad along with the 148th Fighter Wing helped detonate the small bomb.

The FBI is working with the bomb squad to examine the contents of the bomb.

They’re hoping it may lead them to a suspect.

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