UPDATED: Campus sees two false bomb scares
A wired object triggered a bomb scare at Kings Court English College House earlier in the afternoon
March 23, 2014, 6:31 pm · Updated March 24, 2014, 5:38 pm·
Penn saw two false bomb scares Sunday night.
Sunday evening, there was an “unfounded” bomb threat at the 3925 Walnut street Chipotle, the Division of Public Safety confirmed in an emailed statement in response to questions from The Daily Pennsylvanian.
“Penn and Philadelphia cleared the area in an abundance of caution. A sweep was done of the property and no device was found.” DPS said. “Because no device was found as there was in the earlier incident, no UPennAlert was sent out.”
Earlier in the afternoon, a wired object that police determined to most likely be a harmless science experiment triggered a bomb scare at Kings Court English College House, Vice President for Public Safety Maureen Rush said
Police do not suspect the suspicious object at Kings Court English was intended to cause any harm or confusion.
“It’s a good example of if you’re doing something with cords and wires sticking out, you don’t want to leave it anywhere,” Rush said.
Renee Duckett, the security guard on duty at the entrance of the college house, called her Penn Police supervisor about the suspicious package at 4:14 p.m. The object was located on a table by the bike racks just outside the window of the lobby.
Penn Police arrived at the scene within two minutes of the call and evacuated the building three minutes later, Rush said. The area between 34th and 36th streets and between Chestnut and Walnut streets was blocked off with police tape, and no one was permitted into the area who had already left.
Bomb dogs accompanied Penn Police to the scene. Based on the dogs’ reactions to the object, they called the Philadelphia Police bomb squad to investigate. The bomb squad analyzed the object in question and determined it was safe. Residents were allowed back into the building around 5:35 p.m.
Some students who were in the building during the evacuation were more panicked over their work than the bomb threat.
“I was pissed because I have a midterm tomorrow,” Engineering freshman Varun Venkatesh said. He and several friends took shelter at the Urban Outfitters at 36th and Sansom streets during the evacuation. He exited the college house through a fire exit after his residential advisor advised him to leave. From the second floor of the store, he was able to see several firemen, policemen, a couple of fire trucks and an ambulance.
City News Editor Harry Cooperman contributed reporting.