Another grenade simulator found on Fort Irwin school campus
FORT IRWIN • Officials found another hand grenade simulator on campus Monday at Fort Irwin Middle School — the fourth of its kind found on campus in the past week.
School administrators put the campus on lockdown after a school air conditioning worker found the simulator on the roof, said Marc Jackson, superintendent of Silver Valley Unified School District. This is the third time administrators locked down the campus after staff found a device on Wednesday and two devices on Thursday.
The area around the hand grenade simulators were sectioned off while Explosive Ordnance Disposal soldiers disarmed and removed the device from campus. Officials also called out bomb sniffing dogs from the Marine Corps Logistics Base to search the campus for additional devices, though none were found.
Military police are still investigating the incidences, which they believe are linked. No arrests had been made as of Monday, though they are “extremely close,” Jackson said.
Hand grenade explosives are dangerous, Jackson explained. They are the equivalent of two cherry bombs and can blow a man’s hands off if holding it when it detonates. The National Training Center uses the devices to train soldiers for war, simulating the loud sounds they’ll experience in combat.
“Our kids are all really terrified,” said one Fort Irwin mother who didn’t want to give her name, fearing her husband, a soldier, would receive retaliation.
She said her children were crying when they came home from school. She wonders how much of these instances have to do with Sept. 11.
“All of us are really on edge right now, especially because of tomorrow,” she said Monday. “I’m pulling my kids out. A lot of people aren’t sending their kids.”
But school will be in session Tuesday as usual, said Cherie Cain, Fort Irwin school liaison officer.
“The school is safe,” Cain said. “We’ve had teams in there and buildings checked in there (Monday). Business is normal. We have no reason to change the process that we do on the installation.”
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