Police chase man near Birchwood Elementary School

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Two local schools were alerted Wednesday morning about a police pursuit in the area involving a man wanted on a warrant.

Officers saw Ian Block, 32, in the vicinity of Birchwood Elementary School, 3200 Pinewood Ave., at around 8:30 a.m. as students were arriving for school. He has a felony warrant from the state Department of Corrections for escaping from community custody, said Bellingham police spokesman Lt. Bob Vander Yacht.

Vander Yacht said officers chased Block, who ran through the elementary school’s field after jumping a fence. He remained at large Wednesday.

Police notified both Birchwood Elementary School and Shuksan Middle School – the schools are less than a mile away from each other – of the pursuit so school officials could take safety precautions and move the students inside. The schools did not go into lockdown and continued to operate normally throughout the day, said Jacqueline Brawley, communications manager for Bellingham Public Schools.

Birchwood Principal Matt Whitten said that while the school didn’t lock its doors, he posted people at entry points to ensure students were safely inside and not on the playground. Whitten said it took around 45 minutes for the police to give the school an all clear.

Vanessa Thomas: 360-715-2289, @vaney_t13