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Bomb Squad at National City retirement community forces hundreds to evacuate

Posted at 4:05 PM, Jul 22, 2021
and last updated 2021-07-23 02:08:22-04

NATIONAL CITY, Calif. (KGTV) -- Hundreds of residents were forced to leave their homes in a National City retirement community while a bomb squad searched for signs of an explosive Thursday afternoon, police said.

National City firefighters were called around 11: 30 a.m. after a report of a possible explosion at Paradise Village Retirement Community on 4th Street.

According to National City Battalion Chief Mark Beveridge, they received a call about a possible fire and a bomb scare on the second floor of one of the facility's buildings. A man said he had a bomb and flammable liquids inside his apartment.

When police arrived, the suspect ran away. They were able to catch him with the help of police dogs. He was taken to an area hospital with dog bite wounds.

Beveridge said they have three main priorities: clearing the suspect's backpack, car and apartment.

In the afternoon hours, a booming sound could be heard coming from the community, and Beveridge confirmed that was them clearing the backpack.

He said the next focus will be clearing the car, which had a propane tank and gas can sitting on the hood. Then, they'll clear his home.

Beveridge said they do believe this man has the ability to make a bomb, which is why they are carefully clearing all areas.

About 400 hundred people were forced to evacuate while this investigation continued.

Multiple agencies are helping in the investigation, including San Diego Sheriff's Bomb Arson Squad, hazmat, San Diego fire department, National City fire department, and National City Police.

As of 3:30 p.m., no explosives were found, and there were no initial reports of injuries.

Authorities said they took one man, who may have been having a mental health episode, into custody for questioning.

As of 7:30pm Thursday afternoon all other potential threats had been cleared, and the area reopened. All evacuated residents returned back to their rooms.

This is a developing story please check back for updates.