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Water plant bomb threat investigated

September 09, 2005|By ANDREW SCHOTZ

HAGERSTOWN

andrews@herald-mail.com

Someone threatened to detonate an explosive device at the Hagerstown water treatment plant last week, but authorities weren't alerted until the next day, the city's fire marshal said Thursday.

Fire Marshal Tom Brown would not comment on how the threat was made or who made it. He said a criminal investigation was under way.

Brown also would not say whether a Water and Sewer Department employee was responsible for the threat, referring that question to Human Resources Director Donna Messina.

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"There was an employee involved," Messina said, but she wouldn't confirm whether the employee made the threat.

The bomb threat was made Aug. 31, Messina said.

The next day, the Water and Sewer Department told her about the threat and she contacted the city's police department and fire marshal's office, she said.

Messina did not know why the Water and Sewer Department waited a day to tell her, but she emphasized that the employees and the building were in "no immediate danger."

She said late Thursday afternoon that she couldn't reach anyone from the department to comment.

The Herald-Mail reached David Shindle, the manager of the Water and Sewer Department, a few minutes later on his cell phone. Asked about the delay, he said, "I really can't comment on that."

Brown said threatening to detonate an explosive device is a misdemeanor under Maryland law, punishable by up to 10 years in jail, a $10,000 fine or both.

No one had been charged as of Thursday afternoon.

Brown said Assistant Fire Marshal Richard L. Miller talked to some people present when the threat was made, but still needs to talk to others.

The water treatment plant is on Clean Water Circle, off Frederick Street, near Funkstown.

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