Explosive found at Port of Ilwaco; officials comment on response

Pacific County Emergency Management shared somewhat of an after-incident report following an explosive found at the Port of Ilwaco on Sunday.

On Sunday afternoon around 3pm, officers were dispatched after a passerby found the explosive device in a remote area of the port. 

The Pacific County Sheriff’s Office and Long Beach Police Department responded and confirmed the possible explosive device, notifying the Washington State Patrol Bomb Squad, closing off the perimeter and evacuating people in the vicinity.

PCEMA commented that the device was in a remote area at the port and posed no threat to any of the businesses on the waterfront. A perimeter was established and people were evacuated from that perimeter and there was no other threat to public safety, therefore notification was necessary.

The public was asked to avoid the port during the investigation.

Shortly before 10pm, the WSP Bomb Squad gave the all clear. 

PCEMA said that after the incident, residents had asked “Why was the broader community not notified?” 

Officials say that;

“The answer to that question is based on an over-arching goal of keeping the public safe. In this case, there was no advantage to public safety if a broader notification were to be issued. In fact, when an announcement is made, it often results in an increased number of people in the area. That is exactly the phenomenon responders noticed once the incident became public knowledge.”

They added that while “while transparency is extremely important, it is secondary to public safety”. 

They say that information was released as soon as it was appropriate to do so.

Specific details around the device and any potential suspects were not given, although the investigation is ongoing.