Explosion of Homemade Bomb Causes Evacuation of Cleveland School

CLEVELAND (AP) - About 1,300 students and teachers were evacuated from a high school Tuesday after a student shook a plastic bottle containing caustic chemicals and the mixture exploded, officials said.

"Someone told a student how to make an explosive device, and he did," said Micheline Jackson, principal of Collinwood High School.

She said a 17-year-old junior was showing another student the bottle in a basement stairwell during class changes around noon.

"He put the cap on the bottle, shook it up, but nothing happened," Jackson said. "So he tossed it into a corner and walked away. A minute or two later, it exploded."

A junior who was descending the stairs at the time was taken to a hospital to have her hearing checked. The building wasn't damaged.

Police called the small, plastic soda bottle a "crude homemade bomb."

The principal sounded the fire alarm, emptying the school as the police bomb squad and fire officials searched for more explosives. Students and teachers waited outside for nearly two hours until officials finished their search, finding nothing.

The 17-year-old and a senior, Ralphel Penn, 18, were taken into custody and could face charges of aggravated arson and inducing panic, said Lt. Thomas Stacho, a police spokesman.

Jackson said the students would be suspended and possibly expelled.