An explosive device was detonated in a federal courthouse early Monday after a bomb scare forced an evacuation of a large chunk of a sleepy West Virginia city.
Police confirmed to news station WVAA that at least one explosive device was found in the historic Elizabeth Kee Federal Building in Bluefield, a city with a population of just under 10,000 people.
At around 11:40 a.m. — two hours after the area was evacuated — police yelled “Fire in the hole” ahead of a loud blast as at least one device was detonated from inside the courthouse, the Bluefield Daily Telegraph said.
The local paper saw a bomb-squad robot in the street, which was otherwise deserted save a heavy police presence.
Bluefield Police Chief Dennis Dillow confirmed to the paper that at least three suspicious devices had been found at the federal courthouse, without elaborating.
An area around neighboring Westminster Presbyterian Church was also being evacuated after possible explosives were found there, police later told WVNS.
The police chief did not initially elaborate on what the devices were or what the apparent motive could be.
“We are in the middle of investigating this,” Dillow told the local outlet.
This is a developing news story.
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