Local News

Friday, Nov 30 2012 02:12 PM

Device found at North High School deemed harmless

  1. 1 of 7

    By Casey Christie / The Californian

    Brittney Cox waits for her brother to be released from North High School after Friday's bomb scare. Hundreds more were in line waiting to hear the plan at the school for the students.

    click to expand click to collapse
  2. 2 of 7

    By Casey Christie / The Californian

    Parents and family members wait for their children at the back gate of North High School at the football field for their students to be released after Friday's bomb scare.

    click to expand click to collapse
  3. 3 of 7

    By Casey Christie / The Californian

    An ambulance that was never needed sits in the front parking lot of North High School Friday during the bomb scare.

    click to expand click to collapse
  4. 4 of 7

    By Casey Christie / The Californian

    Parents, family members and friends including Vanessa Herrera, waving, wait for North High School students to be released after Friday's bomb scare.

    click to expand click to collapse
  5. 5 of 7

    By Casey Christie / The Californian

    Carol Webb, left, and Crystal McDermott, who had just met earlier at North High School hugged each other before they left with their children safely in hand after a bomb scare Friday.

    click to expand click to collapse
  6. 6 of 7

    By Casey Christie / The Californian

    Carol Webb was glad when her son Zackeree, left, was released from North High School Friday afternoon after a bomb scare on campus.

    click to expand click to collapse
  7. 7 of 7

    By Casey Christie / The Californian

    North High School students wait for further instructions in the bleachers on the football field Friday after the bomb scare.

    click to expand click to collapse
By JASON KOTOWSKI, Californian staff writer jkotowski@bakersfield.com

The suspicious device found in a North High School bathroom, resulting in the evacuation of the campus Friday, turned out to be a harmless piece of plumbing equipment, officials said.

It was unclear who left the equipment in the bathroom and when, but there’s been construction work going on at the school. Still, officials evacuated the school, only allowing students and faculty to return to the campus at 1:30 p.m. after the Kern County sheriff’s bomb squad determined it was not explosive.

The sheriff’s department received a call at 12:03 p.m. from the school saying a possible explosive device was found by students in a North High bathroom, said sheriff’s spokesman Ray Pruitt. The item appeared to be similar in shape to a pipe bomb.

“It turned out to be harmless, fortunately,” Pruitt said.

A total of 1,827 students attend the school.

Students said there was some panicking after school officials gave the order to evacuate the building, first sending them to the quad and then the stadium. Overall, however, they said the process went smoothly.

Zackeree Webb, 17, said some students were screaming and saying there had been either a bomb or guns found on campus. Webb was in art class when he saw some students running to the quad area at 12:27 p.m., and he at first thought a fight was going on.

Once they were told to evacuate, Webb started running scenarios through his head as to what had happened. He texted his mother, who immediately drove to the school.

Webb was one of the first students released from the stadium after his mom signed in to pick him up. A long line of parents stretched from a gate to the stadium eastward down Universe Avenue, which is just north of the school.

“I think it probably is real,” Webb said of the device before officials had examined it. “It’s Oildale and things happen.”

His mom, Carol Webb, said she at first thought it was a joke when her son texted her about the evacuation. She wasn’t overly concerned until she arrived at the school and couldn’t immediately get to her son.

She commended school officials on their quick response and for having a sound emergency plan in place.

Ciara Cummings, 15, was eating a pizza Hot Pocket for lunch when she heard the announcement to evacuate. She left her lunch half eaten and made her way outside along with everyone else.

The students had taken part in a practice emergency drill earlier in the week, so everyone knew what to do and quickly got out of the buildings, Cummings said.

Crystal McDermott, Cummings’ mother, said she panicked at first and couldn’t find where to go to pick up her daughter. And when she did get there, she had to wait until her daughter was allowed to leave the stadium.

“It’s just scary knowing your kids are someplace you can’t get them,” she said.

As for the rest of the afternoon, McDermott said she was going to get her daughter something to eat.

Streets in the area were blocked off, including parts of McCray Street at China Grade Loop, and entrances to the school on the China Grade Loop side. The California Highway Patrol assisted.

Kern High School District Public Information Officer John Teves said school officials took the necessary precautions. He said North High has a veteran staff of administrators.

“They knew what they were doing and they did it the right way,” Teves said.

Have something to share? Comment on this story

Bakersfield.com Daily Deal!

Valley Comedy

Daily Deal

50% off Comedy Show Tickets

Value
$10
% Off
50%
You Save
$5
1 Bought
Buy Now! See more deals