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Bomb scare empties SoHi; reward offered

Posted: Friday, October 11, 2002

Soldotna High School was evacuated Thursday afternoon when someone called the school saying a bomb had been planted there.

Teachers and staff members, with the aid of Soldotna police, checked the school and surrounding area and no bomb was found. Alaska State Troopers, Central Emergency Services and Fish and Wildlife Protection Troopers aided in the search.

According to Soldotna Police Chief Shirley Gifford, a male caller phoned the school at about 12:45 p.m., saying a bomb had been placed there.

At the order of police, school officials evacuated the school with teachers ushering students to Soldotna Middle School about six blocks away. SoHi's enrollment is 507.

"Teachers and staff would best be able to tell if something was out of the ordinary," said Gifford as to why the building was searched by them.

Police searched the outside of the building and nearby wooded areas for a bomb and "any other suspicious activity," said Gifford.

She said a Fish and Wildlife Protection helicopter also aided in the search.

Marydale Avenue on the north side of the high school was closed to traffic briefly during the search, but very little traffic was in the area at the time, according to Gifford.

At 2:30 p.m., it was determined that no bomb was in the school, and the building was reopened. Students were allowed to return to get their cars, but all school activities for the day and evening were canceled.

School will be open as usual for classes today.

The police chief said investigators are working to develop leads and asked anyone with information about the incident to call Crime Stoppers at 283-TIPS or (800) 478-HALT.

The school is offering a $500 reward for information leading to the arrest of suspects in the incident.

Gifford recalled only one similar incident at the school in the early 1990s.



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