Suspicious box at hospital turns out to hold ice pack

Bomb squad investigates

patients moved from wing

May 19, 2002|By Ellie Baublitz | Ellie Baublitz,SUN STAFF

An unmarked box found outside Carroll County General Hospital early Friday prompted authorities to close the parking lot and front lobby, and move patients to another wing, officials said.

Authorities cordoned off the parking lot where the box was found, and ambulances entered the emergency room from Washington Road instead of Center Street.

The box was found to contain an ice pack wrapped in plastic foam, but police said the precautions were merited.

"You always err on the side of caution, especially in this day," said Lt. Terry Katz, commander of the Maryland State Police Westminster barracks.

The box was discovered about 6 a.m. by a patient who parked outside the front entrance and saw the box lying in the gravel by the curb. The patient notified hospital security, who called state police, said Teresa Fletcher, hospital director of marketing and public relations.

"Because of the way it was placed and where it was sitting, we cordoned off the lot and called the fire marshal," said state police Cpl. Dennis Hooper.

Volunteer drivers were found for people whose cars were in the cordoned-off area.

Bomb squad personnel, with an explosives-sniffing dog, arrived about 8:45 a.m. After determining that the box posed no threat, a bomb expert opened it, discovering the ice pack.

"Better safe than sorry," said Deputy Fire Marshal Ted Meminger after the incident.

"We're not sure where the box came from, but [hospital] services were not interrupted," said Fletcher.

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