Rossiter Elementary School in the Helena Valley was evacuated Tuesday morning after a detonated explosive device, which authorities describe as a soda bottle wrapped in duct tape, was found on the school playground.
No injuries were reported, and Lewis and Clark County Sheriff Leo Dutton said he is not aware of any property damage caused by the explosion.
Undersheriff Jason Grimmis described the device as a soda bottle with tape on it and said anyone who sees something similar should avoid it and call the police.
Officials said Rossiter staff called 911 at 8:21 a.m. to report the device. School staff used cones to keep students away from the device, which had exploded before it was found.
“We don’t know what time this thing exploded,” Grimmis said. “But what I do know is it did not explode while there was students there, while there was faculty there, which is a good sign.”
No threat was made against the school prior to the explosion, authorities said.
Rossiter school canceled classes for the rest of the day Tuesday. The parents of Rossiter students were asked to pick up their kids at the Little Red Schoolhouse east of the school and east of the Frontage Road.
All other schools in Helena and East Helena were placed on lock-down and were temporarily searched by law enforcement.
“Our intentions are to make the schools as safe as possible,” Grimmis said.