Bomb scare evacuates federal courthouse - WALB.com, Albany News, Weather, Sports

Bomb scare evacuates federal courthouse

November 9, 2004

Albany - Around 1:00PM Tuesday, the bomb squad was called to the Federal Courthouse in Albany after marshals found a suspicious device behind the building. It turned out to be a discharged fire extinguisher, but authorities weren't taking chances.

"The Marshal Service at the federal courthouse found what they thought was a suspicious package. It was on the chiller in the back," said Interim Police Chief Bob Boren.

The fire department and police bomb squad were on scene within minutes. All employees were evacuated from the building. Police kept people back 1,000 feet while the bomb squad investigated the suspicious device.

"It was a fire extinguisher that had be discharged with the pin out," said Chief Boren. "It looked very suspicious the way it was placed up against the chiller. They're still investigating how it got there, but everything has been rendered safe."

A false alarm, but violence is a real threat for federal buildings. "Federal courthouses are heavily protected around the country, and they don't take any chances," Boren said.

Each year, the APD and fire department go through hours of training to handle potential explosions. If this had been a bomb, four high trained explosive ordinance disposal officers could diffuse the bomb on-site. If it was safe, police could also move the bomb to a control site to detonate.

The fire department's role is putting out the flames and helping the injured after the explosion. "They just take all these threats seriously, and that's what we train for and have these people for," said Boren. Bomb training that luckily wasn't need Tuesday at the federal courthouse.

By 1:30PM, employees were allowed back into the courthouse.

Posted at 3:45PM by kathryn.murchison@walb.com