Kids head back to school at Israel Putnam Elementary in Meriden following pressure cooker scare

MERIDEN – Police are investigating after a pressure cooker was left near the Israel Putnam Elementary School Thursday morning.

The suspicious device prompted a shelter-in-place for the school and closed nearby streets.

Police said a concerned citizen called about the pressure cooker, which she found suspicious. It was about 70 yards from a corner of the school. The call came in around 8:20 a.m.

Superintendent Mark Benigni said that since buses were already en route, and kids were already in the school, the safest option was to have the students enter the school through a different entrance, away from the pressure cooker and shelter in place.

Benigni acknowledged parent’s concern with that decision but said since school was about to start less than 30 minutes from the initial report, that to avoid chaos, following this protocol was key. He also said that they followed what police recommended was the best option.

The Connecticut State Police Bomb Squad kept people a safe distance away from the pressure cooker, and children were kept out of that zone.

Police said that there were no exposed wires on the device, and that the loud bang that was heard was the bomb squad intentionally detonating the device to look inside it. Police wouldn’t comment on the contents of the device.

The shelter-in-place was lifted around 10:50 a.m. Benigni stressed that everyone did what they were supposed to do, and there were no injuries.

Social workers will be on hand at the school tomorrow for anyone who may have been upset by the morning’s events at the school.

Police said they will see if there were surveillance cameras pointing in the direction of where the pressure cooker was left. They will also follow-up with the initial caller who reported the pressure cooker to police.

This is an ongoing investigation.

Class will be held Friday.