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Angeles County | Community News File / Downtown

Thousands Evacuated After Report of Bomb

July 10, 1998

Thousands of people were evacuated Thursday from the downtown federal office building and surrounding structures after a suspicious package was reported in a mail room, but the parcel was later found to contain harmless electronic equipment, police said.

Federal and local law enforcement officers closed major portions of Los Angeles, Alameda and Temple streets as well as the Los Angeles Street offramp of the Hollywood Freeway shortly after the 12:30 p.m. report.

In addition to the federal building, authorities closed the nearby Edward R. Roybal court building, the upper Los Angeles Mall area and the Children's Museum while officials from the FBI, the city fire department and the LAPD bomb squad tried to determine whether the package contained explosive material.

Around 4:30 p.m., bomb squad personnel used a "remote opening device" to discern that the contents of the package were harmless.

Meanwhile, hundreds of office workers milled about, many of them using cellular phones and pay phones to alert family members that they were unsure how they would get home. Workers were later allowed back into the buildings to collect their personal belongings.

"People who work for the federal government are keenly aware of bomb possibilities," said LAPD Lt. Anthony Alba. "We get about 600 false bomb reports every year. We'd rather check them all out than find out one of them is true."

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