Bomb scare prompts El Jebel City Market evacuation
BASALT, Colorado – The El Jebel City Market and several surrounding businesses were evacuated at 2:30 p.m. Tuesday because of a bomb threat.
Basalt Police Sgt. Roderick O’Connor, the incident commander, said an unknown person called the store at about 10:30 a.m. and said a bomb would explode at 5 p.m.
“You’ve got to take it seriously, for sure,” O’Connor said.
A bomb squad from Grand Junction arrived at the scene shortly before 3:30 p.m., according to public information officer and Basalt Deputy Fire Chief Jerry Peetz. The bomb squad’s findings would determine if parts of Sopris Village subdivision and the Movieland complex had to be evacuated, O’Connor said.
The evacuation occurred in a calm manner, with many customers of the supermarket not even realizing what was going on. Customers were prevented from entering starting at 2 p.m. An assistant manager told shoppers that the store had to close for two hours. When asked why, he replied that he couldn’t discuss it. Customers filtered out for the next 45 minutes. None were whisked out.
Meanwhile, officers from Basalt, Eagle County, Pitkin County and Aspen told operators of nearby businesses such as El Jebeverage, The Upper Crust and Zheng they had to close by 2:30 p.m. The goal, the officers said, was to have them re-opened by late afternoon or early evening.
Steve Smith, who owns The Upper Crust bakery and restaurant along with his wife, said he understood the precaution. Nevertheless, it hurts anytime you have to close your doors unexpectedly, especially during a recession.
“There isn’t a business around here that’s turning business away,” he said. Tuesday was busy for early in the week, probably because it comes on the heels of President’s Weekend, he said.
City Market stood to lose thousands of dollars in sales. The grocery store does steady business throughout afternoons. The parking lot is typically jam packed by 5 p.m.
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