TONASKET – A Spokane County Sheriff’s Office bomb disposal unit destroyed a pipe bomb found at the edge of Fancher Dam Reservoir, eight miles northeast of Tonasket last Thursday.
The unit was requested by the Okanogan County Sheriff’s office after a citizen reported finding what appeared to be a pipe bomb stuck between two rocks at about 9 p.m. on Wednesday, May 2. The device was approximately six inches long and constructed of galvanized pipe with end caps glued on and a fuse in the middle, according to Sheriff Frank Rogers, who added it appeared to have been recently left at the location.
Sheriff’s deputies who responded to the scene on Wednesday night made contact with the Spokane County Sheriff’s Office explosive team which said they would respond to the area the next morning. The deputies remained at the scene overnight until the bomb disposal unit arrived around noon.
“The pipe bomb was in fact a real pipe bomb and was destroyed on site by the disposal team. The fragments from the device will be sent to Spokane,” said Sheriff Rogers, adding that there were no suspects at this time.
The sheriff said he was unsure what the bomb maker was attempting to do with the device and whether it was designed to do damage to the dam.
“It’s hard to tell what they were doing. It basically was just stuck between two rocks and it appeared that someone had lit it but it did not go off. The bomb squad destroyed the device in place and I am not sure how strong it was. It was basically a steel pipe with gun powder in it. I know it could have killed someone it they were close to it,” said Rogers, adding he couldn’t remember the last time a pipe bomb was found in the county.
“I do know that pipe bombs pop up from time to time and usually it is someone just trying to make a big bang. I know when I worked in Omak years ago we arrested three kids that were setting off pipe bombs and other homemade devices. They had damaged a few vehicles and the day we arrested the three they were taking them to the school,” said the sheriff.
Located off Swanson Mill Road, Fancher Lake is an irrigation reservoir held by an earthen dam. It is also a popular fishing spot for rainbow trout with locals during the summer and winter months.
Anyone with information on the device found at the Fancher Reservoir is asked to contact the Okanogan Sheriff’s Office at (509) 422-7232.