Improvised explosive devices, or IEDs, aren’t only for Iraq anymore. One of the highly improvised kind went off around 9 a.m. Thursday after being discovered by a teacher at a San Pasqual Academy bathroom and tossed into a nearby bush.
San Diego County Sheriff’s deputies and CAL Fire officials responded to San Pasqual Academy around 9:15 a.m. after getting word of a reported threat to the school. Students were locked down through about 11 a.m. when they were told of the soda bottle bomb in an auditorium assembly.
A 15-year-old boy, not identified due to age, was arrested on suspicion of constructing a “destructive device,” a crude bomb with a toilet bowl cleaning solution and aluminum foil in a plastic soda bottle. He later was booked into Juvenile Hall.
Instructions for making those types of bombs proliferate on the Internet under names like Hydrogen Fireball and Flash-Works-Drano bombs.
A teacher at the campus dedicated to educating foster youth near the San Diego Zoo Safari Park found the bathroom bomb and the teenager in the bathroom.
“The (boy) warned the staff member to get rid of it, as it would explode,” sheriff’s Sgt. Tom Vrabel said. “The bottle was tossed into nearby bushes, and a few minutes later (it) exploded.”
Nobody got blowed up, fortunately. However, additional counselors were sent to the school to aid students who may have been spooked by the commotion and were expected to return Friday for more of the same.
The San Diego County Office of Education oversees the educational program, according to Music Watson, with the county agency, who spoke with a local reporter.
“Something like this is scary for everyone involved,” Watson said. Staff at the school quickly notified authorities and were cooperating with investigators, she said.
The campus at 17701 San Pasqual Valley Road, just before the Ramona grade is designed as a residential education facility with 93 students 12 to 18 years old in grades nine through 12. It has the capacity to house 184 students.
Students live at dorms operated by New Alternatives, Inc. under a county contract. Students intermingle in classrooms, cafeteria and even a small on-campus organic farm.
For the record, the school offers no IED programs.