The Times West Virginian

August 17, 2008

Investigation continues into suspicious container, plastic jug that were blown up

By Bill Byrd

FAIRMONT — Fairmont police detectives will continue their investigation into a suspicious can and jug that were blown up late Friday night by a State Police bomb squad, police said.

No one was injured, but the incident forced drivers to detour around Fairmont Avenue from Seventh to 10th streets while the area was secured and the containers were safely destroyed.

The bomb squad detonated a green, military-style ammunition container and a gallon-sized plastic jug that was found next to it.

The controlled explosion took place about 11 p.m.

State Police are holding the remnants of the can and jug as evidence, Fairmont Police Cpl. Glen Staley said Saturday afternoon.

Staley said he doesn’t know what the bomb squad found in the containers or whether they were parts of a makeshift bomb.

A passer-by called city police about 8:30 p.m. after spotting the can and the jug.

They were found at the corner of Ninth Street and Fairmont Avenue on the sidewalk near the High Gate estate.

“We followed our protocol” for handling a suspicious package, Staley said.

The coordinated effort quickly drew in all available city police officers. Deputies with the Marion County Sheriff’s Department and State Police troopers answered calls in the city limits while the bomb squad did its work.

Police evacuated nearby businesses. Guests at the Avenue Motel were told to move to the back of the motel.

Fairmont firefighters helped to control traffic and the Marion County Rescue squad sent ambulances in case there were any injuries.

Sgt. Matt Pigott, head of the city police detective unit, will be the investigating officer, Staley said.

E-mail Bill Byrd at bbyrd@timeswv.com.