Bomb scare clears building

About 100 people evacuated when pack found under a large fuel tank

Posted: Friday, April 13, 2007

A suspicious package left under a large fuel tank near the Court Plaza Building prompted authorities Thursday to clear the building.

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No damage or injuries were reported.

Shortly after 11:22 a.m., police said they received a report of a possible improvised explosive device behind the State Office Building Annex, also known as the Spam Can.

Security guards found a backpack under a 6,000-gallon fuel tank, said Sgt. David Campbell, Juneau Police Department spokesman.

"It could not be determined if the backpack contained an actual IED (improvised explosive device)," Campbell said.

Police cleared about 100 people from the building, deployed the Explosive Ordinance Disposal Team, then notified Alaska State Troopers, the FBI and Homeland Security.

The explosives team X-rayed the backpack and found it to contain wires, Campbell said. Unable to rule out an explosive device, the team treated the backpack as if it were a bomb.

"It could be an IED, or an iPod and a soda can," Campbell said, but public safety required all possible precautions.

By early evening police and the bomb squad were standing by with a robot to move the device into a bomb disposal truck.

The backpack remained near the fuel tank for more than six hours while police waited for emergency services to get into place before attempting to move the pack for a better view inside.

Police blocked off Main Street between Egan Drive and Fifth Street during the investigation.

Work continued, meanwhile, in the State Office Building nearby on Willoughby Street.

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