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Bomb Threat Under Investigation

By Staff | Mar 1, 2011

Maybe it was just a copycat type of deal but one can never be sure.

Local law enforcement and emergency response officials and the administration and staff of the Emmetsburg Com-munity School District found themselves in an unfamiliar situation Friday evening as a bomb threat was discovered at the high school/middle school complex on King Street. Authorities were notified of the threat at 6:54 p.m. Friday, Feb. 25.

According to Emmetsburg Police Chief Eric Hanson, the threat was discovered in a restroom stall by a custodian stating that a “bomb” had been put in the school.

“At the time of this discovery, school was not in session,” Chief Hanson explained. “Any persons or students who were still on school property were asked to leave the building.”

The school district’s administrative staff cancelled all activities at the facility for the night, and once the evacuation of the school complex was completed, a search of the entire facility was organized by the Emmetsburg Police Department. Deputies from the Palo Alto County Sheriff’s Office assisted in the search, along with members of the Emmetsburg Fire Department, agents of the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation and Emmetsburg Police officers, along with staff of the Emmetsburg Community Schools. The Emmetsburg Ambulance Service was also on the scene during the search. Authorities were in contact with the Iowa State Fire Marshal’s Office as well during the search of the school building.

“At the conclusion of the school search, there were no suspicious devices or objects located,” Chief Hanson noted. “However, the Emmetsburg Police Department and the Emmetsburg Community School District take this type of threat very seriously and will vigorously prosecute any persons found to have caused this type of terroristic situation.”

A similar situation occurred in Storm Lake late last week, when bomb threats were made at the Storm Lake Middle School. An investigation by authorities in Storm Lake resulted in the arrest of eight youths, ranging in age from 11 to 16, after written notes containing the threats were found in the school Thursday and Friday. The middle school was evacuated because of the three rounds of threats. The eight students face various charges, including terroristic threat and harassment. Some were released by police to their parents; others were placed in a juvenile detention center following their arrests.

The investigation into Friday’s incident in Emmetsburg is continuing, according to Hanson.