Sunday, December 5, 2010

Suspicious package destroyed at Elizabethtown Public Library

Emergency responders destroyed a suspicious package at the rear of the Elizabethtown Public Library late Saturday afternoon.

The Elizabethtown Police Department received a call about the package at about 4 p.m. I had taken my son to the library at about 4:15 to find a book and to pick up one reserved for my wife when we noticed a police car blocking access to the parking lot at the rear of the library. Yellow police tape blocked the back entrance to the building.

No one stopped us from getting in through the front door, and we headed to the second floor for my son to find a book. In less than 5 minutes, a librarian approached us and told us that we had to evacuate the building. On the sidewalk out front, the scuttlebutt was something about a suspicious package. By the time my son and I walked to the municipal parking lot in the back, the borough's fire siren was sounding to summon the Elizabethtown Fire Department, and its officer in charge was on the scene.

Police Chief Jack Mentzer later confirmed that police and library staff could not confirm that the package was not legitimate and evacuated the library and the buildings adjacent to that location. Officers then called in a bomb dog and the Pennsylvania State Police bomb squad. The dog did not detect traditional explosives from the package.

State police X-rayed the package and recommended that it be exploded in place by were found to included clothing and magazines.

I think we've all heard stories about suspicious packages that have met a similar fate, only to find the contents innocuous. But in the age when the Transportation Safety Administration will frisk your grandma when she flies to Omaha, it's clear that being cautious is a necessity.

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