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State police blew up a suspicious object Wednesday, and school life returned to normal.
Courtesy of John Robertson IV
Bomb technicians inspect the object at VMI on Wednesday after moving it away from the library and ensuring it was harmless.
Wednesday, April 24, 2013
A “suspicious item” discovered on the Virginia Military Institute campus Wednesday was detonated by Virginia State Police with no larger explosion, indicating it was not an explosive.
Authorities gave the all-clear notice shortly after 11 a.m., and campus life returned to normal with classes and other activities, VMI spokesman Stewart MacInnis said.
The discovery had triggered the closing of the college’s library and the main road onto campus, and evacuation of at least parts of nearly every academic building.
MacInnis would not be more specific about what the item was, calling it “a suspicious object that looked out of place.” He said the event remains under investigation.
The item was located near the entrance to Preston Library, according to a message sent to the VMI community at 8:18 a.m. Wednesday and shared later.
MacInnis said an email went out to all students, faculty and staff, and a message was sent on the Rockbridge County emergency text alert system. Only senior class cadets are allowed to carry cellphones, and cannot have them on during class hours, but public address system announcements were made in the barracks and other buildings.
In addition to the library, Nichols Engineering Building and parts of Mallory Hall were evacuated. Also, Letcher Avenue between Maury-Brooke Hall, at the southwest corner of the parade ground, and Jackson Memorial Hall, at the southeast corner, were closed, and people were asked to avoid the area, including the parade ground.
It was the first time VMI had used its alert system in an instance like this. Past uses have been for matters such as weather emergencies or a water main break.
“The alert system all worked as planned,” MacInnis said.
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