The Herald Bulletin

June 18, 2013

Courthouse workers return to jobs after evacuation

Threat made of 'chemical bomb'

By Dani Palmer
The Herald Bulletin

ANDERSON, Ind. — Workers in the Madison County Government Center have been cleared to return to the offices after a bomb threat shut down a multi-block area in downtown Anderson.

At 8:45 a.m. Tuesday, Anderson police received a call from a downtown pay phone in which the caller made a threat about a chemical bomb, said Madison County Sheriff's Major Brian Bell.

The call was placed from a phone near and Jackson streets. Anyone who might have seen the caller is asked to contact Sheriff's detective Lt. David Callahan at (765) 646-9281.

Traffic was routed away from the Madison County Government complex as well as Anderson’s court building. The buildings were evacuated around 9:30 a.m. and bomb-sniffing dogs were brought in.

The courthouse is expected to be closed until at least 11 a.m., officials said.

The Madison County sheriff’s command center was set up at Jackson and Ninth streets. The Madison County Mobile Command Unit was there, as well as the Tactical Support Unit which raised a camera far into the air directed at the county offices. Fire Department and Hazardous Materials crews were on scene as well as a heavy Sheriff’s Department presence.

James Hampton was inside the county building when he said people were told to leave. He said people did as they were told and evacuated. “We got the bum’s rush out,” said Hampton, who took up a spot to wait at the perimeter of the blocked off area on the west side of Jackson St.

Evacuees with cars parked inside the cordoned perimeter were left to wait it out, for the most part unable to remove their vehicles. People were waiting to hear how long they’d have to wait.

Gerald Peak was on his way into the area  when he found himself being rerouted.

“It was crazy…. They’ve got sheriffs everywhere – the bridge all the way down to 6th Street,” said Peak. The minister with Zion Baptist Church noted, “You’ve got to take all this seriously now, the way things are.”

The Herald Bulletin will continue to update this story.