POCATELLO — Police report that no explosives were found in a suspected improvised explosive device that caused a Pocatello middle school to be evacuated on Tuesday.
Irving Middle School in the 900 block of North Grant Avenue was evacuated around 9:15 a.m. Tuesday following the discovery of the suspected IED in a backpack at the school.
The FBI is helping with the investigation because the incident involved what was initially thought to be an explosive device, authorities said.
Pocatello police said in a press release that their investigation actually began on Monday “concerning specific threats made concerning (School District 25) students, staff and buildings. Persons of interest were developed, identified and interviewed.”
Police continued, “Additional information was developed and a suspected IED was discovered at Irving Middle School (on Tuesday morning). SD 25 staff and Pocatello police school resource officers acted immediately, based on the situation, and declared that the students and staff would evacuate from the school and be moved to a safer location.”
Irving Middle School was subsequently closed for the day and all of its students sent home while Pocatello police investigated the suspected IED. Bomb-sniffing K-9s were initially brought in and the Idaho Falls bomb squad later responded and determined the suspected IED contained no explosives, Pocatello police said.
Pocatello police said they have not made any arrests or detained anyone as a result of the incident but the investigation is ongoing.
The suspected IED is currently in the possession of Pocatello police.
Pocatello police said in their press release, “This situation is a complex and evolving investigation, involving SD 25, Pocatello police school resource officers, Pocatello police detectives, Pocatello police street crimes unit and the Federal Bureau of Investigation.”
School District 25 officials reported around 1:45 p.m. Tuesday that there is no threat to the public and classes will resume at Irving on Wednesday.
Pocatello police said via their press release, “There are no credible threats to the citizens of Pocatello, SD 25 students or SD 25 staff.” But Pocatello police are asking for anyone with information about the incident to call them at 208-234-6100.
Irving’s students and staff were evacuated by school officials and Pocatello police to Raymond Park, located next to the school, until around 10:30 a.m. Tuesday when it was decided that the school would remain closed for the day and the students would be sent home.
Most of Irving’s students were then taken to the nearby Pocatello High School gymnasium where they were picked up by their parents. The remaining students were picked up at Raymond Park by their parents.
All Tuesday after-school activities at Irving, including track practice, were canceled.
School District 25 emphasized that all of Irving’s students were safe and accounted for following the discovery of the suspected IED.
“Thank you, staff, learners and parents for remaining calm, composed, and patient while we worked as quickly as possible to reconnect learners to their families and address the situation,” School District 25 said in a Tuesday afternoon press release.
All of the streets surrounding Irving were temporarily shut down by police as they investigated the suspected IED but none of the homes adjacent to the school were evacuated.
School District 25 issued a press release about the suspicious object within minutes of it being reported to police. The press release stated: “Out of an abundance of caution, all learners and staff have been evacuated from Irving Middle School due to a suspicious object located in a backpack. Police are onsite and an investigation is ongoing. We will provide updates as they are received.”
Also responding to the incident were the Pocatello Fire Department and Bannock County Search and Rescue.