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Feds Ignite Bomb Scare at Fire Station

SPECIAL TO THE TIMES

Federal agents took an old military device to a fire station Wednesday so it could be inspected by the Los Angeles Police Department bomb squad, only to have police evacuate the station--which was full of schoolchildren--and rush the device to a nearby park to detonate it.

Agents from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms took the device, later identified as non-explosive, to Fire Station 39 in the 14400 block of Sylvan Avenue about 10:30 a.m., Agent Chris Sadowski said.

He said agents had been planning to dispose of the device--evidence from a 1985 case which had been in storage for several years--but wanted the bomb squad to examine it first.

Sadowski said agents went to the station “feeling it was a public safety facility” and secure location. But when they arrived with the device, shaped like a grenade, they found that the station was being visited by about 70 middle school children, police said.

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The bomb squad arrived, evacuated the station and nearby businesses and closed part of a nearby street, then took the device from the ATF car where it sat and whisked it to nearby Woodley Park. The bomb squad detonated it there about 2:30 p.m., Sgt. Joseph Brazas said.

Police later determined that the device was not an explosive but a “document destroyer,” designed to spray magnesium chips to burn papers.


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