ONALASKA - About eight riders on a L.E.W.I.S. Mountain Highway Transit bus got a bomb scare Monday when an anonymous caller phoned 911 from an untraceable cell phone and said there was a bomb on a bus from Packwood headed to Centralia.
By 1:45 p.m., a bomb-sniffing dog from Seattle with the Washington State Patrol confirmed a bomb wasn't onboard the bus parked about 100 yards behind the Brenda's Country Market store off state Route 508 in Onalaska.
Doug Hayden, manager of the transit system, said he got a call shortly before 11:30 a.m. from the Lewis County 911 dispatch saying someone had phoned about a bomb being onboard a Centralia-bound bus.
The bus was headed west and about two miles from Onalaska. Hayden said he directed the bus to the isolated location and ordered the riders to wait for another bus at Brenda's store so they could resume their trip.
"It set us back about 40 minutes," he said.
Hayden added that no one on the bus reported to investigators as having a suspect in mind who would call in a bomb threat, much less plant an actual bomb.
"Nobody knew of anybody with a grudge with anybody on the bus or anyone in our organization," he said.
Washington State Patrol dispatched a bomb squad truck and crew from Olympia to help secure the scene. They arrived around noon.
According to Trooper Mark Soper, Monday was just a normal day for the bomb-sniffing dog, whose normal daily assignments are sniffing for bombs on ferry boats, in ferry terminals and waterfronts.
The dog is owned by state patrol and is part of the local Homeland Security division.