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Update: SkyView Academy explosive device reportedly a water bottle and chemical

Update: Two juveniles were taken into custody following the explosion of what's been described as a "chemical device" at SkyView Academy charter school. At least five people required treatment at an area hospital; see our previous coverage below.

Now, authorities are detailing a possible charge against the pair for possessing the items in question -- reportedly a water bottle that erupted after a chemical was poured into it.

The SkyView logo.
The SkyView logo.

As noted below, approximately 1,100 SkyView students and staffers were evacuated after the explosion, which took place on Tuesday morning, January 14.

Ten individuals -- possibly including the arrestees, although that still hasn't been confirmed -- were evaluated medically afterward, with four students and a teacher being transported to the hospital; a fifth student was taken there by family members.

Meanwhile, the two students were taken into custody, and a search warrant was executed at the home of one.

Now, the Douglas County Sheriff's Office reveals that the pair are being investigated for suspected possession, use or removal of explosive or incendiary devices.

However, the 18th Judicial District DA's office is ultimately in charge of determining if this or any charge is appropriate.

As for the device itself, 7News reports that students at SkyView say it was actually a water bottle.

The addition of a chemical is said to have caused the explosion, causing the bottle itself to rupture.

Continue for our previous coverage of the explosion at SkyView Academy, including photos and videos.

 

Original post, 5:49 a.m. January 15: Evacuations of schools after chemical incidents aren't all that uncommon, and they often take place for benign reasons, like science-lab mishaps or inadvertent spritzes of pepper spray.

But reps at the Douglas County Sheriff's Office are treating what happened at SkyView Academy yesterday as a criminal act, and they arrested two juveniles after approximately 1,100 students and staffers were forced to split, with several requiring medical treatment. Photos, video and details below.

A look at the scene, from 9News coverage.
A look at the scene, from 9News coverage.

Just after 10 a.m. yesterday, according to the DCSO, deputies and personnel from the Littleton and South Metro fire departments rushed to SkyView, a charter school, on a report of what's described as a "chemical device that ruptured."

The term "chemical device" conjures images ranging from a couple of test tubes to an IED, and Dougco investigators aren't specifying which end of the scale should be applied to the SkyView item. They'll say only that "the chemical reaction found within the container caused the device to rupture" in a classroom, not a chemistry lab.

There were quite a few folks in the vicinity of the device when it went wrong, and several were sickened as a result. A total of ten individuals underwent evaluation: Five of them -- four students and a teacher -- were subsequently transported to an area hospital by medical professionals, while a sixth was taken for evaluation by family members.

Fortunately, no permanent damage appears to have been done: All of the patients were treated and released.

At this point, authorities aren't saying if the two juvenile males taken into custody were among those hurt. But they do say that a preliminary investigation has determined that what happened was no accident and is being treated as criminal act.

Underscoring this point was the search last night of a student's home. No word yet about what was found, but the DCSO notes that it's collaborating with the 18th Judicial District DA's office on a continuing investigation that will include forensics work, witness interviews and search warrants.

A look at parents and students leaving the scene, courtesy of 9News.
A look at parents and students leaving the scene, courtesy of 9News.

Meanwhile, SkyView Academy will be open today, albeit with an increased law-enforcement presence. Anyone with information about the case is encouraged to phone the Dougco sheriff's tip line at 303--660-7579 or contact the school's resource officer.

Look below to see a 9News piece about the evacuation in general, followed by another report from the station focusing on the home search.

Send your story tips to the author, Michael Roberts.

More from our News archive circa August 2009: "Inconsistencies in Chatfield High mystery smell story."


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