Did you say pipe bomb ... or pipe bong?
Police were understandably taking no chances late Thursday morning when what appeared to be a pipe bomb was discovered by a Pacific Power employee next to a single-story home on H Street in north Yakima.
Described as a cylindrical device measuring about 2 inches in diameter and about 14 inches long, the object prompted police to evacuate about 10 homes in the area between North Second and Third streets and summon a bomb squad from the Army’s Yakima Training Center.
The bomb squad used a small, dual-tread robot to approach the device, pick it up and examine it before tossing it into a nearby ditch. A bomb squad member clad in heavy protective gear then entered the ditch and attached a charge to the device before exiting.
Then, from a half-block away, the charge was activated, blowing off one end of the cylinder. That’s when authorities learned the cylinder was filled not with explosives, but was instead packed full of marijuana.
“I have no idea why,” Sgt. Mike Henne said later, adding with a bemused laugh, “Never seen anything like it before.”
Normal traffic resumed by 12:30 p.m. — about an hour and a half after the device was reported.
Henne said the homeowner disavowed knowledge of the pipe and its contents. An investigation is ongoing.
After posting a Web update on the event, the Yakima Herald-Republic was contacted by a reader who suggested the cylinder was being used to extract oil or resin with a highly concentrated level of THC, the primary intoxicant contained in marijuana.
A quick check of the Internet showed a number of sites detailing how to extract the oil, including using cylindrical pipes. The sites also warn the process can be dangerous.