Bomb squad and emergency officials on Saturday were removing a "homemade explosive device" found earlier in Casanova Park in San Mateo.
A San Mateo parks employee doing maintenance work at the park spotted three clear plastic liter bottles containing and unknown clear liquid and alumunion foil at about 9 a.m., according to police.
The employee noticed a strong chemical smell coming from the plastic bottles and notified the San Mateo Park Rangers, who called fire and police officials.
Police and fire personnel arrived within minutes and noted the plastic liter bottles and its contents were consistent with a "homemade explosive device."
Additional resources were brought to the scene, including the San Mateo County Hazardous Materials Unit, San Mateo County Bomb Squad, and the Office of Emergency Services and County Health.
Working in a unified command, SMPD and SMFD began a systematic evacuation of the park and the surrounding residential area. A Rapid Notify phone alert was issued to the immediate residential area, advising residents of the ongoing incident.
There was no one in the park at the time the suspicious bottles were located, and no injuries reported.
The park remained closed as of 2 p.m. and the evacuation was still in place. The HazMat Team and Bomb Squad were in the process of removing the suspicious items from the park and estimated the park will reopen and residents will be allowed back to their homes within the hour. The suspicious bottles will be sent to the San Mateo County Forensic Lab for analysis.
The quick actions of the City of San Mateo Parks worker and Park Rangers in this incident may have played a key role in preventing potential injury to San Mateo Parks patrons.
If you notice something out of place that you can’t readily identify—a suspicious object, odor, spilled or leaking liquid or powder, etc.— it’s best to treat it as a hazardous substance until proven otherwise.
Call Public Safety (Police/Fire Departments) immediately via 9-1-1 or have the emergency dispatch phone number programmed into your mobile phone.
SMPD Dispatch - 650-522-7700
Describe the hazardous substance and its location.
In the case of a suspicious object, powder, or liquid - do not disturb it, touch it, or sniff it. Do not smoke or strike a light near it, and extinguish any open flames nearby. Turn off electrical equipment near it (especially fans). Secure or block off the area around it. Keep others away until Public Safety Authorities arrive.