Huntington hospital has bomb scare

Published 12:00 am Friday, July 26, 2002

HUNTINGTON, W. Va.-- A device found in the bushes behind Cabell-Huntington Hospital at about 10:30 a.m. Thursday appears to be a fake pipe bomb, investigators said.

A pipe containing electronics and an antenna was found by hospital employees near the receiving entrance of the hospital, Chief G.M. Fuller of the Huntington Fire Department, said.

"I do not believe that it was a bomb," Fuller said. "No evidence at this time indicates that."

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There was no detonation or injuries, he added.

"We had employees respond from a number of agencies to make sure we had all the tools to handle the situation," Fuller said.

Although the bomb is believed to be fake, it is still a felony on state and federal levels to induce panic in this manner. There are no suspects at this time, Chris Childs, Cabell County Prosecutor, said.

No residue, batteries or black powder was found during the preliminary investigation, said Mark Wilson, resident agent from the ATF's Ashland office.

A robot was initially used to examine the situation, but some problems with it required Reed Cooke from the West Virginia Fire Marshall's Office to put on a bomb suit.

A device called a disrupter was used to fire a blast of water at the device.

Although the disrupter makes a loud noise, the fake bomb did not detonate, Chief Fuller said.

It was unnecessary to evacuate the building because the device wasn't large enough to harm people inside even if it were real, Lt. Mike Albers of the Huntington Police Department added.

Officers from the Marshall University Police Department, the ATF, the FBI, the Huntington Police Department, the Huntington Fire Department and the West Virginia State Fire Marshall's Office's Bomb Squad were among those at the scene. The ongoing investigation will be conducted jointly by the ATF and the FBI. Michael Caldwell/The Ironton Tribune