Conflicting reports were coming from a middle school in Menifee where authorities said an explosive device went off on campus Friday.
Eighteen students were “exposed to a loud explosive device and sustained minor injuries,” the Fire Department stated, reporting that five students were hospitalized.
The Riverside County Sheriff’s Department, however, said no students were burned or hurt, though many had ringing ears.
An illegal firework was set off near a group of students, according to sheriff’s Deputy Armando Munoz. Two students were “of interest” in the case, Munoz said.
One student said she thought a “bomb” went off when the firecracker exploded during break.
A parents said her son called her to say fireworks had gone off in a trashcan and were “really loud.”
“We just heard a big explosion,” said Joshua Zabala, 11. “My first reaction was that there was a gunshot, but it turned out not to be a gunshot. … I got all my friends and we started running to the blacktop.”
The incident, which prompted a lockdown at the school, made the youngster think that students who set off the explosion don’t like the school, he said.
Check back for updates on this developing story.
KTLA’s Amrah Khan contributed to this article.