WARE (CBS) – Officials spent most of Sunday on scene of what they describe as a hazardous material incident on West Street.
Just before 7 a.m. Sunday, Ware Police received an anonymous threatening phone call. Authorities took the phone call seriously and began an extensive search of an area about one mile in diameter. In the area is the town’s school complex, a National Guard Armory, and a neighborhood.
The town sent out several reverse 911 calls, asking residents to stay in their homes and to call police if they noticed anything suspicious. Rumors began to fly.
“The stories ranged from it was a deranged killer, to a bomb, to it could have been a chemical spill,” said Ware resident Marc Morrissette.
Once rumors began to spread through social media, Morrissette’s neighbors began receiving calls from concerned loved ones across the country.
Several roads, including Route 32, were shut down. A command post was set up in a shopping center parking lot across town. The Red Cross fed the crews that included teams from neighboring towns, the State Police, and even federal agencies. The FBI and ATF also offered advice to the searchers.
“We had people come down our street and circle the house and look in the windows,” said Morrissette.
The extensive ground search turned up nothing suspicious.
In an evening news conference, town officials wouldn’t give specifics about what the threatening phone call entailed. They defended the large response and said they did their best to keep everyone informed.
“We took it as a serious threat, a serious phone call,” said Ware Fire Chief Thomas Coulombe. ”We have a responsibility to do our due diligence, to handle it in a proper manner… to see it through to a safe conclusion.”
Police say they’re investigating who placed the phone call.