October 13, 2010 in City

Bomb squad blows up suspicious bag at hospital

Dan Pelle photo

Spokane police block traffic on Monroe Street as an explosives robot heads north on the sidewalk from 5th Avenue to check on a suspicious device in a near by parking lot. The device, a black bag, was rendered safe by the Spokane County Explosives Disposal Unit.
(Full-size photo)

A bomb squad blew up a suspicious bag left in an employee parking lot this morning at Deaconess Medical Center.

The Spokane Explosive Device Unit detonated the bag late this morning at Fifth Avenue and Monroe Street to the west of the hospital.

When an employee parked his car in the gravel employee lot, he noticed the bag next to a concrete barrier near the alley between Fourth and Fifth avenues. He immediately notified Deaconess security, which called the Spokane Police Department. Officers responded just after 8 a.m. and located the bag.

Police closed Monroe between Fourth and Fifth avenues, and Fifth from Lincoln to Madison streets as well as the eastbound side of Fourth Avenue along Interstate 90. They cleared people from a 300-foot radius around the device.

The streets since have reopened.

Many hospital workers exited the building but were told they could go back in if they stay away from the parking lot as well as windows facing the lot.

Lori Johnson, who works in the Deaconess Health and Education Center, said a supervisor informed her and others that there had been a bomb threat.

“We all grabbed our stuff and got out,” Johnson said.

Police spokeswoman Jennifer DeRuwe said there was not a threat, but a suspicious bag, which could have simply been discarded or left behind. Police did not want to take chances because there were suspicious signs on the bag, which officers declined to specify, she said.

The bomb squad about 10:30 a.m. deployed a robot to the collect the bag for a safe disposal.

There are seven comments on this story. Click here to view comments >>

Get stories like this in a free daily email