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Explosive device detonates in front of Jackson County District Attorney's Office

 Posted: 10:25 AM November 13, 2013

An improvised explosive device was placed in front of the Jackson County District Attorney's Office early today and set off, causing an explosion that shattered windows and damaged the building's interior.

The D.A.'s office is closed because of the investigation, and Circuit Court is closed until 1 p.m. (Information updated.) A press conference has been called at 10:30 a.m. at Medford police's briefing room.

The explosion was first reported at 4:38 a.m. Medford Fire-Rescue and Medford police responded to the office, located at 715 W. 10th St. in Medford.

"We arrived on scene and we found what appeared to be a large propane tank on fire on the outside of the building," said Lt. Mike Budreau. "It had caused some damage to the building. There was some glass breakage and there was some interior damage. But most of the damage appears to be on the exterior, which is good."

No one was hurt and the resulting fire did not spread to nearby buildings. Even though there was an explosion, police officials added it did not fully detonate.

"Which is good," Budreau said. "Had that happened, it would have been very substantial damage. But it did catch fire and emitted a large flame until it eventually burned out."

No suspects have been identified or arrested in connection with the incident. Police said there was a male wearing dark clothing several blocks away who ran from an officer, but he avoided capture. He was last seen at the intersection of 10th Street and Columbus Avenue.

"We're not sure if that is going to be related to this case or if it's going to be unrelated," Budreau said.

Medford police remain on scene with assistance from the FBI, Oregon State Police Bomb Squad, and the ATF.

There was initially a large perimeter set up around the explosion site, as there was concern that other explosive devices could be in the area, Budreau said. That perimeter was shrunk when no additional devices were found. Sections of 10th, Orange, Laurel and 8th streets remain blocked off to traffic, with detours set up.

Police said the fact that the tank did not detonate fully is going to make it valuable as a piece of evidence.

"I think that it's safe to assume that had this bomb went off as it was intended to, it would have most likely destroyed most of the building, and we believe that was the intent of the suspect," Budreau said.

District attorney's office employees are not being allowed in the building until 1 p.m. as the investigation continues.

"They will not be entering the building, at least this morning," Budreau said. "Their business will be hampered today for sure."

— Ryan Pfeil

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