CENTRAL FALLS — A bomb threat involving Central Falls City Hall prompted an evacuation of employees and tied up traffic along Dexter Street and the surrounding area for more than two hours on Friday morning.
The threat proved to be unfounded and Police Chief James Mendonca gave the “all clear” at around 12:15 p.m. after the Rhode Island State Police Bomb Squad declared the building safe. Two police dogs, trained to detect explosive devices, were used to search the facility and no evidence of any bomb was found.
Mendonca said at about 10 a.m., police received a three phone calls to its 911 line warning of a bomb at City Hall. He said the calls, in what sounded like a male's voice, came in quick succession and are believed to be from the same person.
Mendonca said City Hall employees, along with roofing company workers who were on top of the building, were told to evacuate and the nearby streets were cordoned off. He said police and fire officials did a preliminary check and then the state police bomb squad was contacted. “We have to take everything like this seriously,” he stated.
Deputy Fire Chief John Garvey said that because of his familiarity with the layout of City Hall, he and a member of the State Fire Marshal's Office did an initial walk-through and saw nothing suspicious. However, as a precaution, the decision was made to bring in the bomb-sniffing dogs, he said.
Mayor James Diossa said he was just returning from a meeting when he learned that the building was being evacuated. He said his primary concern was for people's safety. “We're taking all the necessary steps. It's always important that we don't take these things lightly, especially after what happened in Boston,” he stated.
Diossa added, “I strongly believe in the abilities of the men and women of our police and fire departments to get to the bottom of whoever pulled this prank.”
Several employees noted that they had been in the middle of enjoying a “May Breakfast” that had been put on for them at City Hall when the call came in to evacuate.
Randy, an employee of Apollo Roofing, watched from a nearby parking lot as the bomb-sniffing dogs were led in to City Hall. Even though no explosive device was found, he admitted to feeling a little bit of trepidation about climbing back up on the steeply pitched roof after the dogs' brief search. “Say that Apollo Roofing even works the dangerous jobs,” he joked, as he headed back to work.