‘Bomb threat’ forces evacuation of Vincent Hall

by Robyn Repya

Police evacuated students and faculty from their classrooms and offices in Vincent Hall at noon Thursday to search for a bomb.

University police Capt. Steve Johnson said the building was evacuated after police received a call from an employee in Vincent Hall at 11:46 a.m.

Johnson said a woman reported mechanical noises coming from the trash in the women’s bathroom.

“They got suspicious and called us right away,” he said.

University police then called in the Minneapolis bomb squad, which X-rayed the object without moving it.

After the X-ray was rendered inconclusive, Johnson said, the squad decided to move the object.

“They discovered it was an air freshener,” he said, “one of those battery-operated ones.”

Johnson said the air freshener hung on the wall, and a built-in clock time-controls the release of freshener. He said he did not know which scent was used.

“Somebody apparently pulled it off the wall and put it in the trash,” he said.

The building evacuation caused confusion among students and faculty.

“I was sitting in class and they told us to evacuate immediately – I don’t know why we’re out here,” said Siri Sorensen, a public relations major who left a class in Murphy Hall. “I just hope everyone’s OK and nothing bad happens,” she said.

Although people evacuated other buildings, such as the adjoining Murphy Hall, Johnson said police ordered only Vincent evacuated.

Like many other students and faculty, Sorensen stood outside in the rain awaiting word on what to do.

David Nordsletten, a biomedical engineering major, waited on the steps of Vincent Hall.

“We sat down in the classroom, and a cop came in and said to evacuate the building,” he said.

University police Officer Randy Alexander patrolled the entryway in Vincent Hall.

“All I can say is there was a suspicious-looking package, so we evacuated the building,” he said as he cleared the area.

Johnson said the ordeal lasted approximately two hours, and the evacuation went smoothly.

In addition, Johnson said, he was glad to find an air freshener.

“I’d much rather find one of those than a bomb,” he said.