Pipe bomb found on Monte Rio Beach

Sheriff’s deputies from the Guerneville substation evacuated the Monte Rio public beach Saturday morning after a pipe bomb was found under the Monte Rio Bridge.

 The “suspicious device” was reported by a beachgoer about 11 a.m. Saturday and with the help of the Monte Rio Volunteer Fire Department, the California Highway Patrol and Sonoma County parks personnel the beach was evacuated within 300 feet of the bomb while the device was investigated.

“The sheriff’s office Explosive Ordnance Disposal Unit responded to the scene and rendered one live pipe bomb safe,” said Sheriff’s Lt. Eddie Engram in a media announcement. The beach was reopened at approximately 12:30 p.m., said Engram.

The bomb was made with a small approximately five-inch piece of metal pipe filled with gunpowder, said Monte Rio Volunteer Fire Department Chief Steve Baxman.

“We’re hoping it was just something left over from the Fourth of July,” said Baxman. “But who uses a piece of pipe to make fireworks?”

The Monte Rio Beach, which is operated by the Monte Rio Recreation and Park District, had no special events scheduled for Saturday. About 100 people were evacuated briefly in the vicinity of where the device was found.

 “The sheriff’s office wanted a 300-foot evacuation circle around the device,” said Baxman. “The good news is the beach was only evacuated for about an hour and a half.”