NEW HAVEN, Conn. (WTNH) — Law enforcement agencies declared Yale University buildings safe Friday evening, hours after a bomb threat prompted the evacuation of several buildings.
The call came in at 1:51 p.m. to the non-emergency line, Interim New Haven Police Chief Renee Dominguez told the press. The caller claimed bombs were placed in several buildings, university officials said.
Ten buildings on campus were evacuated in response to the call:
- Bass Library
- Bingham Hall
- Branford College
- Grace Hopper College
- Jonathan Edwards College
- Saybrook College
- University Theatre
- Vanderbilt Hall
- Welch Hall
- Yale Art Gallery
Old Campus was blocked off to traffic and passersby. York, Elm, College, and Crown streets were closed until all buildings were cleared.
Students and staff initially gathered on the New Haven Green. Just before 5 p.m., displaced students were moved to Schwarzman Center and Lanman Center while the investigation continued.
New Haven Fire, New Haven Police, Yale University Police, State Police, the FBI, Department of Homeland Security, and specialized hazardous device teams were on scene.
Bomb-sniffing dogs were brought out in. More than a dozen teams started clearing buildings after police officers went through room by room, hallway by stairwell, making sure everyone got out.
Chief Ronnell Higgins of Yale PD explained, “We also paired a fire marshal with each one of the bomb teams that check the buildings. They are very good at what they do and they are good at going in and determining locations where something might be hidden.”
Salomon Helfgot, a Yale freshman, described, “I woke up to what sounded like a fire alarm and I didn’t pay it any mind, and then a few police officers came bursting through, and I freaked out, and I walked out without any shoes.”
All buildings were cleared and all roads in the area reopened just before 7 p.m., according to Mayor Justin Elicker’s office. Many businesses in the area shut down for the rest of the day, but some have since reopened.
The FBI and state police not only assisted with the bomb detection but also the investigation, tracking down the person who called in a bomb threat. They said it was called into a non-emergency line which usually indicates someone from out of the area.
“It is a very active investigation and we continue to receive updates,” Chief Higgins said.
University officials are updating its Emergency Management site as more information becomes available.
This is a developing story. Check back for updates.