Two arrested after explosions at Bountiful schools

Apr 11 2012 - 11:26pm

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(NICK SHORT/Standard-Examiner) Emergency personnel respond to a chemical explosion at Bountiful High School on Wednesday in Bountiful.
(NICK SHORT/Standard-Examiner) Emergency personnel respond to a chemical explosion at Bountiful High School on Wednesday in Bountiful.
(LORETTA PARK/Standard-Examiner) Emergency personnel respond to a chemical explosion at Bountiful High School on Wednesday in Bountiful.
(NICK SHORT/Standard-Examiner) Emergency personnel respond to a chemical explosion at Bountiful High School on Wednesday in Bountiful.
(NICK SHORT/Standard-Examiner) Emergency personnel respond to a chemical explosion at Bountiful High School on Wednesday in Bountiful.
(LORETTA PARK/Standard-Examiner) Emergency personnel respond to a chemical explosion at Bountiful High School on Wednesday in Bountiful.

BOUNTIFUL -- Police arrested two students who they said created explosions at Bountiful High School and near Millcreek Junior High School, resulting in both schools being locked down for about 90 minutes Wednesday.

The schools are about two blocks apart.

The two could also be charged in juvenile court following a review by the Davis County Attorney's Office.

The Davis School District case management team will meet with the two Bountiful High School students -- a sophomore girl and a junior boy -- before deciding if the pair will be allowed back in the school or if an alternative education plan needs to be developed, said Christopher Williams, the district's spokesman.

School administrators were alerted early Wednesday by another student that the pair were bringing chemicals to school, Williams said.

The two did get on campus, but they left before school officials could locate them, Williams said.

According to the school's website, the school starts classes at 7:30 a.m. on Wednesdays. The explosion occurred at 8:20 a.m. in the southwest corner of the building near the school library, Bountiful Police Sgt. Gary Koehn said. Around the same time, another explosion occurred in a nearby church parking lot, close to Millcreek Junior High School.

Williams and Koehn said the explosions were created using a chemical such as toilet bowl cleaner and aluminum foil.

In both explosions, no one was hurt and no damage was done.

"At this age, we think it may be just a prank, but a prank that could get you landed in jail or injured, or hurt someone else," Williams said.

Williams said one of the students was found at Bountiful High School, while the other was arrested in a nearby neighborhood.

Many students said they did not hear the explosion and thought at first it was "just a drill."

Jensen Lae Suer, 18, a senior at the school, was in the library working on a computer and heard the explosion.

"It was like a bang," he said. "I looked around and asked my friends about it. We honestly didn't think it was a bomb. We thought it was the science kids upstairs doing an experiment."

Lae Suer said when it was announced the school was in lockdown, he didn't take it seriously until he walked out of the library and saw police patting down a student.

As to a student causing an explosion at school, "I think it's stupid," he said. "You should know better and know you're going to get into trouble."

Following the lockdown, police closed off Mill Street, which is just south of the school. Yellow police tape was put around a trash can on the north side of the street, as well as around part of a home on the south side of the street. Officers could be seen talking to residents in the neighborhood.

Williams said the school was placed on lockdown as soon as administrators knew what happened.

Koehn and Williams said an evacuation of the school would not have been safe, because no one knew at the time who had caused the explosion and whether there were more explosive devices.

Williams said there was also a report of a suspicious package left in a hallway.

"Having students in the hallway would have been dangerous," Koehn said.

Millcreek was also put on lockdown because no one knew if there were explosive devices in that school after the explosion in the parking lot.

Koehn said five bomb-sniffing dogs were brought from different police agencies, including Airport Security and the Utah Highway Patrol. Thirty-five officers, including Davis County Sheriff's Bomb Squad, responded to the school.

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