ANDERSON — City and county government employees found themselves with an extended — but forced — break from work Tuesday as a bomb threat shut down a multi-block area in downtown Anderson.
At 8:40 a.m., Anderson police received a call from the Broadway and School Street Ricker’s payphone in which the caller made a “chemical bomb” threat to the city and county government buildings, said Anderson Police Department spokesman Detective Joel Sandefur.
The threat came just days after one was made at Anderson’s Wal-Mart, 2321 Charles St., early Saturday morning by phone.
Whether there was any connection between the two threats, Sandefur said, it’s too soon to tell. No arrests had been made in either case as of Tuesday night.
On Tuesday, both government buildings were evacuated shortly after the call, a two-block perimeter set up and traffic routed away for about two hours as Anderson police and fire cleared the City Building and the Madison County Sheriff’s Department set up a command center at Jackson and Ninth streets to oversee inspection of the Madison County Government Center.
The Madison County Mobile Command Unit was there, as well as the Tactical Support Unit that raised a camera far into the air directed at the county offices.
While any threat is taken seriously, Sheriff’s Department Maj. Brian Bell said, it was heightened by the mention of a chemical agent: cyanide.
Both the Madison County Hazardous Materials Team and explosives K-9s from the Madison and Delaware County sheriff’s departments were brought in to do searches.
City spokeswoman Charlee Turner said city workers were allowed back in after about 45 minutes. County workers were given the all clear shortly before 11 a.m.
Sandefur said police have already reviewed the surveillance footage at the gas station, which did not reveal any leads, and have processed the payphone.