Neighbors near the vacated Mountain View school campus were startled yesterday afternoon, Wednesday, March 14th, by the sound of intermittent explosions that continued into the evening.
Startled neighbors alerted Discover Ferndale while others called 911 after hearing a loud explosion in the vicinity of the campus about 3:30pm. Some took to social media noting, “Shook my windows,” “I jumped straight up” and “glad it is not something serious.”
According to Whatcom County Sheriff’s Office (WCSO) Undersheriff Jeff Parks, the explosions were part of a Special Weapons and Tactics (SWAT) training exercise at the empty school campus. “They were using explosive breaching as part of the exercise,” Parks said in an email.
By 6pm, at least 1 portable building on the campus could be seen with a large man-sized hole through one wall and a smaller hole surrounded by what appeared to be smoke stains on another wall. Parks said that since he had not been onsite during the training, he could not confirm right away those were the result of the exercise.
The portable buildings are destined for demolition according to a permit the Ferndale School District applied for with the City of Ferndale.
Neighbors reported the explosions continued until around 8pm.
Parks said the normal procedure is to notify the community when explosives are to be used during training or destruction of hazardous materials. He did not know why that had not happened prior to yesterday’s training exercises.
The Mountain View school campus has been vacant since the school closed in 2013 and has been the scene of numerous training exercises and drills by US Customs and Border Protection, Whatcom County Fire District 7, WCSO and other first responders.