Bomb squad neutralizes device outside Spokane aquatic center

Published On: Mar 20 2013 03:51:37 AM PDT   Updated On: Mar 20 2013 03:57:13 PM PDT
Cannon Park pic
SPOKANE, Wash. -

Spokane police are investigating a suspicious device that was found in the A.M. Cannon Aquatic Center in West Central Spokane on Wednesday morning.

Around 1 a.m., a neighbor called 911 to report a person trying to cut their way into the fence around the aquatic center, which is located on the 1900 block of West Maxwell Avenue.

When officers arrived, they noticed an object on a bench just outside the fence. As officers approached the object, it started smoking and burst into flames. The device burned for about 30 minutes until the fire department was able to extinguish it with a hose.

"[It] burned until the fire department was able to put it out with water from a distance; because of the circumstances surrounding its location and what it was doing we chose to put a perimeter up to keep the public safe," Spokane Police Officer Dean Sprague said.

The bomb squad was called in to deal with the situation.

"We were able to investigate that from a distance [and] they chose to neutralize it in place," Sprague said.

Once confident the object was destroyed and no longer a threat, the bomb squad was able to identify it.

"We have confirmed that it was an improvised incendiary device," Sprague said.

Different from an improvised explosive device, an improvised incendiary device creates a long-lasting flame rather than an explosion and can maim someone or cause serious burn damage.

"There is always great potential (for harm)," said Spokane Police Sgt. Dean Sprague. "This was significant because of its location, it's a park and a residential area. Our concern is obviously the people who are living here, sleeping here and playing here."

Police say had this happened closer to a home or other building the outcome could have been deadly. The ask residents to call Crime Check with any information you may have. Crime Check's number is (509) 456-2233.