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Bomb scare at Green Gables Elementary

A bomb squad was called to detonate a homemade pipe bomb at Green Gables Elementary School last week.

A parent noticed a suspicious item lodged in a tree near the bus loop at the school around 4:30 p.m. Monday. The parent notified office staff, who called school security and the Federal Way Police Department.

Staff and daycare students were in the building at the time, although the regular school day was over.

"The bomb squad eventually was called and they took care of the thing with a water cannon," said Federal Way School District spokeswoman Deb Stenberg. "It was fireworks. Sparklers that were sort of put together in a bundle, but yeah, it had the potential to be damaging."

After the bomb was disarmed, police searched the building and the neighborhood.

"That's routine; whenever something like that happens, we always canvas the area," said Federal Way Police spokeswoman Stacy Flores.

Police also called in a bomb-sniffing dog from the Port of Seattle Police at the request of Green Gables principal Diane Holt.

The school was deemed safe for students.

It is unclear if the pipe bomb was left on the campus by a student, Flores said.

"We're not sure at this point. We're not sure as far as the motive or how long it's been there," she said.

The bomb was a handmade pipe bomb with sparklers attached, Flores said. It could have been made by an amateur.

"Nowadays off the Internet, you can learn how to do a whole lot of things," she said.

Sparklers are one of the most common illegal fireworks in Federal Way, Flores said. They are dangerous. They frequently cause fires and they can burn at temperatures hot enough to melt gold.

Possession or use of sparklers in Federal Way could lead to a $100 fine.

"Even sparklers are dangerous," Flores said. "Just be aware."

Contact Margo Horner: mhorner@fedwaymirror.com or (253) 925-5565.

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