Redmond firefighters and police shut down busy 148th Avenue Northeast for about a half-hour yesterday evening as a bomb squad blew up a...

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Redmond


Redmond firefighters and police shut down busy 148th Avenue Northeast for about a half-hour yesterday evening as a bomb squad blew up a metal canister of a volatile chemical found at a nearby business.

Redmond fire inspectors discovered the anhydrous ether during a routine fire-safety inspection at Amtest Laboratories, in the 14600 block of Northeast 87th Street, said Tom Langton, a Redmond fire spokesman.

The company, a water-testing firm, uses the chemical in its testing, but it has a shelf life of only three to six months before it turns volatile, Langton said. This particular canister had been in the business since 1991 and had crystallized.

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The Bellevue police bomb squad was summoned, streets were blocked off and businesses within 300 feet of Amtest were evacuated as a precaution.

Finally, around 5:30 p.m., a bomb-squad officer in a protective suit carried the canister out of the building at the end of a long pole. It was placed in a bunker of sandbags in the middle of the street and exploded with a loud bang.

Kirkland

Reward offered in arson probe

Kirkland fire investigators said yesterday that a Sunday afternoon fire at a small church was arson.

Now investigators said they are hoping to find five teenagers who were seen walking past the church around the time of the $700,000 blaze.

The fire at the home of a Brethren group known as Christians Gathered Unto the Name of the Lord Jesus Christ, at 8041 132nd Ave. N.E., destroyed the church nursery.

Investigators said yesterday that a witness has reported hearing firecrackers around the time of the fire.

One of the teens was wearing white-rimmed sunglasses and camouflage pants, investigators said.

A $10,000 reward has been offered in the case. Anyone with information can call an arson hotline at 800-552-7766 or a Kirkland fire investigator at 425-508-2424.

Issaquah

Not guilty pleaded in harassment case

An Issaquah man pleaded not guilty yesterday to charges of beating and threatening his wife and forcing his 6-year-old stepson to drink alcohol.

Jason N. Roberts, 25, is charged in King County Superior Court with three felonies — felony harassment, malicious mischief and reckless endangerment — and misdemeanor assault.

Prosecutors say Roberts hit his wife, broke the family’s television and gave his stepson beer and shots of high-proof rum March 3 at their apartment on Newport Way. Roberts remained in the King County Jail yesterday with bail set at $150,000.