Bomb scare is a dud
CARBONDALE – Downtown Carbondale was blocked off from Fourth Street to Weant Boulevard Wednesday afternoon and several downtown buildings were evacuated after a suspicious pipe, thought to possibly be a bomb, was found.At about 2:30 p.m. an employee of Qwest, which has a facility located at Fourth and Main, called the Carbondale Police Department and reported finding a suspicious-looking pipe in the courtyard of the building. Carbondale Police and the Carbondale and Rural Fire Protection District took a look at the pipe and decided it was suspicious enough to call in the Grand Junction bomb squad.The Main Street of Carbondale was closed at around 3 p.m. for several hours until the Grand Junction Fire Department bomb squad arrived at about 6 p.m.According to incident commander Carl Smith, the bomb squad x-rayed the suspicious pipe and took it outside via robot to detonate the cap. At 8 p.m. the evacuated area was declared safe.”The police and fire department have taken a very cautious and conservative approach to this situation,” said Fire Chief Ron Leach in a press release. Leach said the suspect pipe was about 16 inches long and about 4 inches in diameter and had screw-on caps on both ends.He said there was no bomb threat, only the discovery of the unusual device which caused alarm. A host of downtown businesses, including the Valley Journal, were affected by the closure and evacuation. In the Dinkel Building alone, which covers an entire block of Main Street, 14 businesses and two residences were affected, according to building manager John Masters who was out on the street about 3:30 p.m. looking for more information. “I’ve heard it’s going to be anywhere from two to 24 hours,” Masters said of the evacuation. “I don’t know, I might have to put them (the residents) up in my house for the night.”Masters came into the offices of the Valley Journal looking for information, but what he found were the only three employees in the Dinkel building who didn’t know about the evacuation, busily working on final deadline for this week’s paper.”Is this an April Fool’s joke?” said photographer Jane Bachrach. “I’m not kidding,” said Masters, “grab your notebooks and your camera.”Although the VJ was almost forgotten, all of the other businesses in the downtown core were evacuated.”We had to leave the building immediately,” said Pauly Cranick, a barista at Java Joes. “I didn’t even have time to get a cup of coffee.” Wendy Anderson, owner of Novel Tea Bookstore, was out on the street corner with an employee and other gawkers wondering what was going on. “It was really nice of them to tell us what was going on two hours after we were evacuated,” she said.For anyone who was really put out, the Carbondale Middle School was set up as an emergency relocation center.Leach said he expected that once the bomb squad was on the scene, they would figure out if the pipe is a threat in “pretty short order.”The bomb squad arrived on the scene at roughly 6 p.m.Before then, business owners darted into their shops to close up. Once the sun set most of the spectators had disappeared.
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Local teams just missed out on qualifying for state as teams but will be sending individual representatives following Friday’s regional meets.