2 Women Hurt by Bomb Sent to U.S. Office

Times Staff Writer

A small bomb hidden in a box of flowers exploded Monday in government offices on the 33rd floor of a downtown high-rise, injuring two women. Federal police said they believe the incident may be a “family-type problem.”

The bomb exploded at 2:55 p.m. as a 42-year-old federal employee, Pamela Castro, opened a box that witnesses said had been delivered by a man wearing a formal dinner jacket.

Castro suffered second-degree burns on her face and chest, and cuts on her right leg. The other woman, Melanie Polanski, 41, suffered first-degree burns on her hands. Both women were taken to Mission Emergency Hospital, where nurses said they were in fair and stable condition.

Federal Offices


The explosion occurred in space used by the contracts and procurement section of the U.S. General Services Administration. In 1975, a terrorist bomb destroyed a bathroom on the 34th floor of the same building, injuring five agents of the federal Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms.

However, political motives are not suspected in Monday’s explosion, said Don Ross, district supervisor of the Federal Protective Service, a police agency that guards federal buildings.

“At this point,” he said, “we do not suspect terrorist activity. We feel it is probably a family-type problem.”

San Francisco Police Sgt. Manuel Barretta agreed. “I believe it was aimed at an individual,” he said. "(It was) delivered to an individual, so I assume it was intended at an individual, not an establishment.”


Target Not Clear

Ross said the bomb “may have been a flash-type powder--an incendiary device that exploded when she opened it up.” Neither man speculated on which woman may have been the target.

After the blast, police evacuated two floors of the 38-story Tishman Building, a brown stone structure at Market and 1st streets in the financial district. They were the 33rd floor, where the bomb exploded, and the 28th, which includes the main regional administrative office of GSA. Police said the 28th floor was closed after a bomb threat was called in but that no bomb was found.