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Bomb Threat Made To Harford County Health Department

Around 11:29 a.m. an employee at the Harford County Health Department received a bomb threat.

UPDATE (1:45 p.m.)—The was evacuated Wednesday after a health department employee received a bomb threat.

Employees were allowed to return to the building shortly after 1 p.m.

"Right now it's under investigation," Bel Air Deputy Police Chief said as employees returned to the building.

Around 11:29 a.m. an employee of the health department, located at 120 S. Hays Street, received a bomb threat, according to Chief Leo Matrangola.

"They elected to evacuate the building," Matrangola said.

Police blocked off a two block radius surrounding the building, blocking off traffic on Hays Street, Thomas Street and Churchville Road Extended, Matrangola said.

Around 12:20 p.m., Matrangola said members of the Maryland State Fire Marshals office were on the way to the scene and would direct the search. A bomb sniffing dog from Maryland State Police was also called to the scene.

Peschek explained an item that was inside the building caused law enforcement particular concern. The item was apparently left behind by accident, police later learned.

"Our response was heightened because an item was up there," Peschek said.

Employees and bystanders told Patch police returned a back pack to a young man shortly before giving the all clear signal. The young man then left the area.

Karen Platt, a health department employee, was outside with her coworkers watching the situation unfold.

"They kept telling us to get further and further away," Platt said.

Two other women were halfway through their first day working at the health department office when the bomb threat was called in.

Platt said at one point, employees from the Mary Resteau State Office Building, which houses Harford County District Court, joined her and her coworkers on the street.

"Ironically the fire alarm went off at the same time over at District Court, so that added to the confusion" Matrangola said.

He said there was no indication of anything suspicious surrounding the fire alarm at Harford County District Court. The two incidents do not appear to be related.

The assisted at the scene, Matrangola said.

Stick with Patch for updates.

Maxwell Rash June 13, 2012 at 05:06 PM
It's horrible it took from 11:29 a.m. to 12:20 p.m. for the Maryland State Fire Marshal’s Office and a drug sniffing dog to be on their way. I think the Bel Air Town Commissioners and the Fire Chief need to take a look at their response time. "What if" could have been a unfortunate situation to think of with an hour window of no response!!!
harfordman June 13, 2012 at 05:37 PM
Maxwell,The bomb sniffing dog and the officer was at another call at the other end of the County by the time he got dispatched it took maybe 20 min at the most ,,How many bomb sniffing dog's do you think the State has,.So cool your jet's and turn on your scanner and find out when they get requested how long it really did take,I think you will be suprised on how fast our County Emergency response is.
Marie Weimer June 13, 2012 at 05:51 PM
WORD, harfordman!!! :-)
Aaron Wodka June 13, 2012 at 06:25 PM
Wow Maxwell, quite the critic....Do you understand that the citizens of Maryland are fortunate enough to have an explosive detection K9, 3 bomb technicians, a bomb truck and a bomb robot practically anywhere in the state in less than one hour? 51 minutes is pretty darn good if you ask me. Do you understand the bomb technicians and their robot can be flown to any part of the state if need be in a true emergency where a bomb is actually "ticking down" to the big one? While this "suspicious package" may seem like a true emergency to you, it's run of the mill for the bomb tech's that do it everyday. 51 minutes far exceeds national standards. What would you suggest the Town Commissioners and Fire Chief do? They have no control over the MSP's K9's and Bomb Squad. I implore you to find such a quick response from other agencies anywhere in the country. Just yesterday the State Fire Marshal's Office responded to HDG High while assisting with the presidential detail in Baltimore. APG EOD was called to assist and the FM Office was still able to have personnel on the scene before APG EOD. Remember - a "suspicious package" was found. The building was evacuated. A perimeter was set up. The crowd was controlled. What other threat is there? The building? As long as no one got hurt, the "suspicious package" could sit there for hours. it looks like you're being critical of the Town Commissioners. Looks like your gunning for a town commissioner seat if you ask me. Good luck with that Maxwel
Alana Denise Hicks-Amoroso June 13, 2012 at 08:57 PM
And.....since I'm pretty sure they all weren't just sitting around twiddling their thumbs just waiting for the next call to come in, I'd say they got to BelAir within an excellent amount of time!!!! Plus, I'm also pretty sure this wasn't MSP's first call for a bomb threat and they knew what they were doing!!!!!!
BelAir1997 June 13, 2012 at 09:57 PM
Maxwell, no need to criticize on things you're not educated on.....
Alligator Biter June 14, 2012 at 04:26 AM
In the first picture, behind the bush that is behind the parking meter, that is me, dropping a deuce.
Rob M. June 15, 2012 at 03:17 PM
Nice try Max. Don't comment on issues you obviously know nothing about.

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