Bellingham police blew up a duffel bag downtown on Friday. Here’s what was in it

The duffel bag found and destroyed Friday afternoon, Sept. 13, on a downtown sidewalk outside the Whatcom Council of Governments did not contain any explosives, Bellingham police said Monday.

“The contents were examined and determined to be personal belongings with no explosives present,” Lt. Claudia Murphy told The Bellingham Herald.

The bag was left on a sidewalk along Champion Street between State and Forest streets, according to a tweet by the Bellingham Police Department shortly after noon on Friday, and explosives experts were brought in to check the bag.

“Our Hazardous Devices Unit members are highly trained and nationally certified in their field and examined the duffel remotely by X-raying it,” Murphy told The Herald. “The information gained from that examination left the techs concerned enough that there were bomb components present, they consulted with the FBI special agent bomb technicians, who agreed with the assessment and that the bag could be a threat.

“The decision therefore was made to render it safe in place and then examine the contents.”

To make sure the bag and its contents could be torn apart and examined, streets in a four-block area were closed, buildings in the area were evacuated and the bag was twice detonated. Police tweeted the all-clear at 3:16 p.m., saying, “Thank you for patience during this investigation.”

David Rasbach joined The Bellingham Herald in 2005 and now covers breaking news. He has been an editor and writer in several western states since 1994.