Salt Lake City bank tower evacuated as bomb squad examines ‘suspicious’ object


(Reuters) – Officials evacuated a high-rise bank building in downtown Salt Lake City on Monday as investigators from the local bomb squad, fire department, Utah National Guard and FBI examined a “suspicious item” found in a nearby alley, police said.

The Salt Lake City Police Department was alerted to the object in question by a 911 emergency call shortly before 8 a.m. local time, and patrol officers arriving on the scene summoned the police hazardous devices unit, a police spokesperson said.

Assistance from other agencies was subsequently requested, and the U.S. Bank Tower, located adjacent to the suspicious object, was fully evacuated “out of an abundance of caution,” according to the spokesperson, Sergeant Mark Wian.

“Just in case something does happen with this item, we want to be sure that the people nearby are in a safe place,” Wian said, adding that he did not know how many people were in the office tower.

Occupants of other nearby businesses were urged to “shelter in place” while authorities inspected the item and worked to “determine what this item is and how we can safely reach a resolution,” Wian said. A number of roads in the immediate vicinity were closed to traffic.

County health officials were also called to the scene, joining city police, the fire department hazardous materials team, the county bomb squad, National Guard troops and the FBI.

Wian said he did not have any information about the nature of the object, its appearance or why it was deemed to be suspicious, other than it was something that was “out of the ordinary” in terms of where it was found.

(Reporting by Steve Gorman in Los Angeles; editing by Rami Ayyub)

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