Bomb Squad sent to Sierra Middle School after suspicious object found, officials said

Teacher smelled chemicals from recyclables

BAKERSFIELD, Calif. - The Kern County Sheriff's Department Bomb Squad was sent to Sierra Middle School after a suspicious object was discovered.

On March 4, at about 11:00 am Kern County Sheriff’s deputies went to Sierra Middle School in east Bakersfield regarding a small explosion that had occurred on campus.


When deputies arrived they spoke to school staff. Deputies determined that earlier that morning a teacher had been transporting recycled plastic water bottles from her classroom in a recyclables container to a recycling bin at another location on campus. As the teacher was removing the plastic bottles from the recyclables container to place them in the recycling bin she noticed two of the bottles appeared to be swollen and had small amounts of liquid in them. The teacher began removing the cap from one of the bottles to release the pressure in the bottle and as she unscrewed the cap it exploded off the bottle and a small amount of overspray from the liquid in the bottle struck the teacher.

After being struck by the overspray, the teacher noticed a chemical smell emitting from the liquid and the bottles. She then notified the school principal, who took both of the plastic bottles into his office to secure them.

Due to the potential of explosive objects and hazardous chemicals, the Sheriff’s Office Bomb Squad along with Environmental Health responded to the school to analyze the bottles and liquids. Environmental Health sampled the liquids in the bottles and determined they tested reactive for small levels of acid, although it was not determined what type of acid.

The Sheriff’s Office Bomb Squad took possession of the plastic bottles, rendered them safe and disposed of them. An investigation is ongoing to attempt to determine how the bottles were placed in the recyclables container.

The teacher was not injured and did not require medical attention. The school was not placed on lockdown or evacuated, and class schedules for students were not affected.

If anyone has information on this case they are asked to call the Sheriff’s Office at 661-861-3110. Anonymous text tips can be sent to TIP411 (847411). Just type the keyword “KCSO” prior to the message.


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