Massachusetts Daily Collegian

“Suspicious package” investigated in Hadley

By Chelsie Field

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Alyssa Creamer/Collegian

The University of Massachusetts Five College Federal Credit Union building in Hadley was evacuated Tuesday afternoon after a “suspicious package” located outside the building’s south facade was reported.

The package and its contents were deemed to not be a threat by law enforcement and public safety officials who responded. No injuries were reported and the scene was cleared about 3:20 p.m., according to a Hadley Fire Department press release.

Hadley Fire Chief James Kicza described the package – which was reportedly in a garbage container – as a square Styrofoam container.

He said the package “didn’t really look like garbage, and that’s why it looked suspicious.”

Lt. Mike Spanknebel of the Hadley Fire Department said at the scene that though he “didn’t see the entire contents” of the package, he described it as containing “foam inside a black plastic bag,” and that the foam looked like common packaging used for electronic devices.

Officials from the Hadley fire and police departments, as well as officials from the UMass Police Department, were dispatched to the scene at 1:09 p.m., according to the release.

The release stated: “Due to the suspicious nature and location of the package it was decided by fire and police to contact the State Police Bomb Squad” whose technicians “utilized x-ray equipment to determine (that the) package was non hazardous.”

Kicza said the bomb squad came from Worcester to investigate the package. Officials reached at the state police bomb squad division declined to comment on the matter.

VIDEO: Investigation of ‘suspicious package’ outside Hadley’s Five College Credit Union from Daily Collegian on Vimeo.

According to Jon Reske, vice president of marketing at the credit union, the bomb squad arrived approximately 45 minutes after authorities were alerted of the incident.

“After (the package) was reported, we called the authorities, the Hadley Police Department, and evacuated the building per our evacuation plan,” said Reske. He said a credit union member reported the package to the staff.

Approximately 60 individuals – most of whom were employees of the credit union – were instructed to leave the building immediately, according to Reske.

“(Everyone) was very calm,” Reske said. “We practice (our evacuation plan), and so we know what to do.” He added that after exiting the building, all non-essential employees – who comprise a majority of credit union’s staff – were sent home. The remaining employees were allowed back into the building at the investigation’s conclusion about 3:30 p.m.

The credit union is located at 200 Westgate Center Drive.

Prior to the conclusion of the investigation, Luis Antonmarchi, a UMPD officer responding to the scene who was blocking off Westgate Center Drive with his police car, said: “More than likely it’s nothing, but we have to take every precaution. Everybody is erring on the side of caution.”

Emily Felder contributed to this report. Chelsie Field can be reached at [email protected]. Alyssa Creamer can be reached at [email protected]

 

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