Police Probe Fire, Bomb Threats That Caused 400 Guests to Flee Hotel
SANTA MONICA, Calif. (AP) _ A caller threatened to blow up a hotel minutes after two small fires forced guests to evacuate and shortly before two bottles filled with gasoline were hurled at a nearby police officer, authorities said.
No bomb was found in the hotel, and the bottles tossed at the officer did not explode, authorities said.
No one has been arrested in the incidents, which began shortly before 4 a.m. Sunday when the flames were spotted and more than 400 guests safely fled the nine-story building, police and fire officials said.
The fires occurred in a seventh-floor trash chute and a bin in the basement into which the chute empties, Fire Department Battalion Chief Vic Johnson said.
Within minutes, a man called the bomb threat into the hotel, police Sgt. W. Harry Kutzbach said.
″The suspect told the people that the bomb was in the hotel and that ’It’s going to blow the whole ... building sky-high,‴ Kutzbach said.
The threat was not explained and the man didn’t mention the fires, he said.
A short time later the bombs were tossed at an officer directing traffic near the hotel, Kutzbach said. The bottles came from the direction of Santa Monica High School, but no one was found on the school grounds, he said.
Firefighters controlled the fires at the hotel in less than 30 minutes, fire dispatcher Phil Bayliss said.
Hotel guests were temporarily sheltered at the high school and were allowed to return to their rooms later in the morning.
No estimate of damage was available, Bayliss said.
Santa Monica is 15 miles west of downtown Los Angeles.