Russell T. Kleber, Chief of Police
280 Exchange St.
Athol, MA 01331
For Immediate Release
Tuesday, March 27, 2018
Contact: John Guilfoil
Email: [email protected]
Athol Police Station Temporarily Evacuated After Resident Brings Suspicious Pipe to Station
ATHOL — Call it a case of “if you see something, say something, but please don’t touch it.”
Chief Russell Kleber reports that the Athol Police Department had to be evacuated for a short time earlier this evening after a resident saw a suspicious looking pipe with wires sticking out of one end laying on the side of the road and brought it to the police station.
The resident, who was only trying to do the right thing by alerting authorities about something potentially dangerous, was driving along South Athol Road near the Rt. 2 overpass at about 6 p.m. Tuesday when he observed the cardboard tube, which measured 3 feet long and 4 inches around. The resident placed it in the bed of his pickup truck and drove to the Athol police station on Exchange Street. He did not bring the device inside, but he parked the truck in front of the station and told a dispatcher what he found. This, unfortunately, triggered a set of protocols that resulted in the evacuation of the station.
The Massachusetts State Police Bomb Squad was notified, and the Athol Fire Department immediately responded to the scene. An investigation determined that the tube was actually an unexploded commercial-grade firework. The fire department took possession of the device and will dispose of it safely. The police station was re-opened within about a half hour.
During the evacuation, Athol 911 calls were temporarily routed to the Massachusetts State Police/Shelburne Control communications center, as is standard procedure.
The resident’s name will not be released, and he is not facing any charges. However, Chief Kleber reminds and strongly urges anyone who comes upon a suspicious package or device to leave it where it is and to call 911 to ensure proper handling.
“We sincerely appreciate that this resident had the intention to make sure no children or innocent people were accidentally harmed by this unexploded firework,” Chief Kleber said. “We want to use this situation as a reminder to everyone to always call the police if they see something suspicious, and leave the transportation and disposal to the police officers and firefighters whose job it is to deal with these situations.”