LINCOLN (CBS) – Trace explosive residue was found on a moving truck at Hanscom Air Force Base Thursday, causing a explosive scare that triggered evacuations at the base.
The situation began around 9 a.m. when security stopped a Big Foot Moving and Storage truck for a routine inspection as it was about to enter the facility.
“Security Forces detected some potentially explosive material, which caused the base to put response actions in place,” Hanscom officials said in a statement. “Those actions included a temporary closure of the base’s Vandenberg (Rte 2A) Gate and evacuation of several nearby base facilities.”
The State Police bomb squad was called in and the truck was inspected for several hours. The all clear was given around 1 p.m. and base operations returned to normal.
“It was the right call by the U.S. Air Force and it was the right response,” said State Police Major Fran Leahy said during a press conference.
“Given the times we live in, we operate under an abundance of caution.”
Big Foot Moving and Storage CEO Mike Bavuso said the truck contained “household goods” that were being delivered to the base.
Bavuso said it is unknown what triggered the response, adding that the company is working with authorities.
“Our vehicle and personnel have been cleared and we are thankful that the incident has been resolved,” said Bavuso. “We assure our customers that we take this matter very seriously. The safety of our crew, customers and their goods is of utmost importance to us. We thank all the authorities and military personnel for their thoroughness and their commitment to protecting our country every day.”
The truck was carrying items that were for a family moving onto the base.
The truck was emptied and several pallets were removed from inside. The pallets were taken to a specialized facility for testing.
Pallets that tested positive for explosive residue will be tested by a chemist. State Police said it will be a “high priority” to determine what caused the incident.
Bedford Police said earlier in the day they were monitoring the situation but that there was “no danger to the community at this time.”
Hanscom Field commercial airport, which has a different entrance, remained open throughout the incident.
The driver of the truck remained on scene and has been “completely cooperative.”
Police said no one is suspected of a crime, but they are trying to determine how the residue got onto the truck.
State Police Sgt. William Qualls said “Cross contamination is more than likely”
No injuries were reported.
A perimeter had been set up extending 1,500 feet from the truck in all directions. But just after 1 p.m., the perimeter was reduced to 100 feet and the area was reopened a short time later.
The exit to Hanscom from Route 2A was closed for several hours.
Massachusetts Gov. Charlie Baker said he was briefed on the incident, but did not comment further.
Hanscom Air Force Base, which covers 848 acres, is headquarters to the 66th Air Base group. More than 10,000 people work at the base, which has more than 150 buildings.
The base spans land in Concord, Bedford and Lincoln.
WBZ NewsRadio 1030’s Lana Jones reports