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Update: Items in storage box determined to be road flares, not dynamite

Highway 34 from Fair Avenue to Western Avenue was blocked along with roads in the surrounding perimeter Thursday during an investigation to possible explosives found on the west side of town. (Kevin Cederstrom/Enterprise)

The Park Rapids Police Department and Hubbard County Sheriff's Office received a report Thursday afternoon from Linda's Recycled Goods stating they had located what was believed to be dynamite inside of a storage box at their location.

A perimeter was set up around the location of the suspicious item. In the best interest of safety, the immediate area was evacuated and an area community notification was made. As a precaution, the Park Rapids Century School and Park Rapids High School were placed on lockdown. All students and staff were advised to stay indoors until normal release time. At school release time all staff and students were routed away from the secured perimeter. Minnesota Highway 34 and local roadways within the perimeter were closed and the scene was secured. The Crow Wing County Bomb Squad was notified and later arrived to inspect the suspicious item. When the inspection was completed, the items were found to be road flares that very closely resembled dynamite.

There were no injuries reported during the incident. Park Rapids Police Chief Jeff Appel thanks everyone for their understanding and cooperation throughout this incident. "The Park Rapids Police Department will always take all necessary precautions to ensure the safety of all residents within the community," he said in a news release.

Assisting at the scene was the Hubbard County Sheriff's Office, Hubbard County Emergency Management, MN State Patrol, North Ambulance, Park Rapids Fire Department, Minnesota DNR, the City of Park Rapids Public Works Department, and the Crow Wing County Bomb Squad.

Surrounding businesses were evacuated, including the West Forty Restaurant where employees and customers were told to go at least a half mile away. Park Rapids Area Schools buses were moved from the bus garage at the fairgrounds to the old Pamida parking lot.

During the investigation law enforcement advised people not to travel to the west side of town.