Suspicious powder found in Puhi home

The Kaua’i Fire Department Hazardous Materials team and Police Department were called to a Puhi neighborhood about 10:40 a.m. Wednesday morning after a Leleiona Street resident received a suspicious piece of mail.

Powder was reportedly seen on the envelope, prompting the KFD HazMat team to respond. According to Battalion Commander Teddy Williams, the fire department took high alert precautions, wearing protective suits to go in and recover the substance.

Personnel from the state Department of Health were also on scene to test the powder and determine whether it was a substance that was dangerous to the community. Areas near Leleiona Street and the Puhi Post Office were evacuated and secured by police, and after it was determined that the substance wasn’t hazardous, the scene was cleared at about 2:30 p.m.

The substance was kept for further testing by the Department of Health. Police say if their investigation determines the incident was a hoax, criminal charges could be filed against those responsible.

Kapa’a High School received its first bomb threat in almost nine years at about 7:46 a.m. on Sept. 11.

A male, possibly a juvenile, called the administrative office of Kapa’a High School and said, “Tell the principal that a bomb is gonna go off today,” according to school principal Gilbert Youn.

Following security protocol, Youn called the Department of education District office and decided to evacuate the school. By about 8:45 school security officers were sent to each classroom to inform teachers of the plan and Kaua’i Police Department officers responded.

Youn said that the caller didn’t give a time of day for the bomb to explode, so they didn’t have to take the call as seriously as they did. But because the bomb threat came in at the beginning of the school day; and Wednesday was the first anniversary of terrorist attacks, they decided to evacuate.

“It’s really hard because – what if we don’t do it (evacuate) and there is a bomb?” Youn said, “We have to protect the safety of our school.” At 9:15, classes were let out to the school’s three evacuation zones where students gathered for about 20 minutes.

“The students were very well-behaved and serious,” Youn said.

After students were let back into classes, police and members of the school’s crisis committee checked common areas and no suspicious items were found.

After returning to campus, the school observed a minute of silence at 10:06 a.m. and for the rest of the day no other incidents were reported. Police say they are continuing to investigate.

Staff Writer Kendyce Manguchei can be reached at kmanguchei@pulitzer.net or 245-3681 (ext. 252).

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