2002-02-09 / Front Page

Bomb Scare Empties 8400 SFP

By Howard Schwach

Bomb Scare Empties 8400 SFP
By Howard Schwach

A "device" left in an apartment on the fourth floor of 8400 Shore Front Parkway sparked an hour-long, full-scale evacuation of the building last Monday as police officers from the Emergency Service Unit and the bomb squad worked feverishly to ascertain if it was, in fact, a bomb.

According to police, after close inspection by bomb squad experts, the device turned out to be a "hoax," a mock-up of a bomb that could not have detonated.

People streamed from the high-rise building into the increasing darkness, some carrying photo albums, laptop computers, lock boxes and other assorted important items.

Many wore heavy coats against the winter chill over the lightweight clothing they were wearing as they watched television, made dinner or played computer games.

"It was really a little frightening to hear the pounding on the door and to have a police officer tell you that you had to get out of the building immediately," one tenant, who asked to remain anonymous, told a Wave reporter. "My first thought was that it was stupid to go out into the cold, that it was not really a bomb, but I grabbed my kids and our coats and I ran just like everybody else."

St. Rose of Lima Church, right across the street from the entrance to the building, opened its doors to anyone who wanted a little warmth.

A representative of the church moved among the knots of people standing, watching the emergency responders rush into the building they had just evacuated, urging people to use the church's facility, but many people congregated on the beachfront and the boardwalk.

Police and fire units responded from all over the borough and extra EMS units responded to the area in case of an emergency involving those who were evacuated from their apartments.

The incident began, according to police, at approximately 4:45 p.m., when city marshals executing an eviction notice for apartment 4G. Although the apartment was empty, a device with a clock that "was counting" was in the apartment. The marshals called the emergency system. The first police units responding told the communications specialist that they had found a "device," and that they were beginning an evacuation of the building.

A Level I Mobilization was called and Shore Front Parkway, Beach 84 Street and a number of other streets were blocked off and traffic was rerouted around the area.

It was not until approximately 5:41 p.m. that units of the bomb squad checked the device carefully and it was ascertained that it was a hoax, that residents were allowed to go back into the building.

"It looked just like a bomb, a bunch of red sticks bound together with a coil of wire coming out of it attached to a clock that was counting," one FDNY official told The Wave. "It certainly looked legitimate."

The apartment where the device was found was cordoned off as a crime scene and detectives from the 100 Precinct are investigating the incident.

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