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030218 LVMC bomb squad

Personnel from the Santa Barbara County sheriff's Bomb Squad talk to Lompoc Police officers Friday outside Lompoc Valley Medical Center, where they were called to inspect a suspicious object.

The Santa Barbara County sheriff’s Bomb Squad was called Friday morning to inspect a suspicious object at Lompoc Valley Medical Center that had allegedly been left behind at the hospital by a transient patient.

The patient, whose identity was not revealed by law enforcement officers, had reportedly checked out of the hospital Friday, after which staff at the facility discovered he had left behind a PVC pipe that was capped on both ends. At around 8 a.m., hospital staff alerted the Lompoc Police Department, which called the sheriff’s Bomb Squad. Members of the squad ultimately found the object to be harmless around 12:30 p.m.

“There was no explosive or anything inside of it,” Lompoc Police Sgt. Kevin Martin said.

During the investigation of the object, Lompoc Police closed off the 100 to 300 blocks of North Seventh Street to traffic.

According to Martin, the Bomb Squad sent a robot to remove the device from a section of the hospital that had already been cleared. After getting the pipe outside, the Sheriff’s Office personnel used a Lompoc Police water cannon to open it.

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“Nobody was in danger,” Martin said afterward. “We blocked off the area of the hospital that we needed to internally, until the sheriff’s staff responded and took a look at it. Once they decided they wanted to do more, we went ahead and shut down the street and cleared out the area.”

A statement from a Lompoc Valley Medical Center spokeswoman noted that hospital staff "exercised all precautions during the situation."

Willis Jacobson covers the city of Lompoc for Lee Central Coast Newspapers. Follow him on Twitter @WJacobsonLR.