Through the lens: 'Suspicious' fire extinguisher removed by hand

This time it was an abandoned fire extinguisher that prompted the Washington State Patrol to send a bomb squad to San Juan Island.

Local authorities closed a portion of Second Street to traffic at about 1:45 p.m., Tuesday, after an abandoned and somewhat beat-up fire extinguisher was found on the sidewalk across the street from San Juan County Courthouse. Someone apparently placed the extinguisher near the base of a parking sign pole on the southwest side of the roadway.extinguisher

Undersheriff Bruce Distler said photographs were taken of the fire extinguisher and sent to the state patrol, which then determined it to be "suspicious" in nature. Distler said the state ferry system rerouted one of its boats to pick up a state patrol bomb squad and that officers were expected to arrive in Friday Harbor at about 5 p.m. to inspect the extinguisher.

"We defer to the state patrol in these situations," he said.

It's the fourth time in the past four months that a so-called "suspicious package" has prompted the state patrol to send a bomb squad to San Juan Island. The previous incidents include; an abandoned typewriter found at the gravel pit in mid-September, a package outside Friday Harbor Drug Store later that month, a suitcase by the Market Place parking lot in late October and a suspicious package by the US Customs headquarters at the Port of Friday Harbor in late December, which contained electrical equipment and wiring.

Like the fire extinguisher on Tuesday, the previous incidents were all treated as "suspicious," but none were armed with explosives.

— Scott Rasmussen



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