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U of I bomb squad called to Vermilion County twice in one week

DANVILLE — Emergency personnel shut down a city block and evacuated several businesses following a suspicious package found along North Walnut Street.

Danville police were contacted a little after 11:30 a.m. Wednesday after a black suitcase was discovered hidden behind a newspaper box in front of the News-Gazette office, 139 N. Walnut St.

Danville Director of Public Safety Larry Thomason said a Danville officer observed what he could of the piece of luggage. It was decided to call in the University of Illinois Bomb Squad to “assess the package and make sure before anything was removed.”

Emergency vehicles blocked Walnut Street at North Street and Harrison streets, and prevented anyone from getting closer to the suspicious luggage.

Bomb squad members X-rayed the suitcase and determined no explosives were present.

Steve Trame, a lieutenant with the U of I Police Department and commander of the bomb squad, said personal items including clothes and a curling iron were found inside.

The site was officially declared safe a little after 3 p.m. Wednesday.

Thomason said the suspicious package prompted police to evacuate people from buildings in the immediate area of the scene, including the Commercial-News’ building, Rich’s Deluxe Restaurant, the Habitat for Humanity Restore store and others. People in other nearby businesses were informed of the situation but not evacuated.

Evacuated worked and passersby waited in Temple Plaza or watched from a safe distance as members of the bomb squad removed the suspicious package.

The suitcase’s origin was not known.

“How it got left there and by whom, we don’t know,” Thomason said.

This was the second time in a week that the U of I Bomb Squad was called to Vermilion County. The team handled an accident scene along Interstate 74 near the 206 mile marker after it was determined commercial fireworks were in one of the vehicles.


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