A potential bomb caused a bit of scare this morning outside an Elkhart County school. The Elkhart Bomb Squad was called to Jefferson Elementary after a suspicious device was found. The school is in Jefferson Township, near County Road 20 and State Road 15. A parent actually found that suspicious device in her mailbox this morning. She was already on her way to Jefferson Elementary, so she ended up putting the device in her car and then decided to call the police when she arrived at the school.
When the sheriff's deputy arrived, he decided the bomb squad should make the call on how to dispose of it. Shortly after nine in the morning, the Elkhart Bomb Squad responded to Jefferson Elementary. The call, a possible explosive device. “When we got here and looked at it, it was an odd shaped device with fluid in it,” says Elkhart County Sheriff’s Captain Sean Holmes. Holmes described it as looking something like a homemade lighter.
“It appeared that it had a wick on it, kind of like a firework type deal, where it's going to burn, tells us that basically what they were aiming for, I guess the homeowner found it in their mailbox and it looks like the suspects were going to try and light it and try to burn the mailbox,” says Sergeant Rob Perry, with Elkhart City Police and the Elkhart Bomb Squad.
Investigators say it was an incinerary device, meaning it would burn, not explode, if set off.
Fortunately, no students at Jefferson Elementary had to be evacuated. The principal tells us the students here were relatively unaware of what was going on since their school day had already started after the bomb scare came in. “Very unique experience, one that you don't relish happening. But it does give you a little start, when you think of all the children we have here. That was our first concern, keeping the children safe,” says Phil Stevens, Principal of Jefferson Elementary.
The Elkhart Bomb Squad attempted to use their robot to detonate the device on site, but it didn't work. They then took it off-site to finish the job. “We would much rather come out and have it be nothing, then somebody just say, oh, forget about it and it actually be something,” says Sergeant Perry.
Although this didn't end up being a major problem, Sergeant Perry says it did give the bomb squad a practice run on their equipment, so if and when they do have the real thing, they're prepared.