TNT Found in Lab; School Evacuated

The discovery of an old plastic vial of TNT in a chemistry laboratory forced the temporary evacuation of about 1,700 Whittier high school students Monday.

The students at California High School were evacuated to an adjacent athletic field for about 30 minutes while sheriff’s deputies removed a bottle containing about 25 grams of the crystallized explosive, said Charles Course, assistant principal. Deputies later detonated the chemical in an empty lot a couple of miles from the campus.

A science teacher found the TNT at the bottom of a box of chemicals delivered to California High last week by a retired science teacher, Course said. When another Whittier high school was closed in 1979, the teacher had stored the box at his home, where he found it recently while cleaning his garage, Course said.