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updated 10.23.2008

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Middlesex High bomb threat was a hoax

by Tom Chillemi

Explosive detecting dogs were on scene within an hour of a bomb threat at Middlesex High School on Wednesday, October 22.

Students and faculty evacuated the school after the 12:16 p.m. alert.

All Middlesex Deputies were called out as part of the bomb threat procedure.

Deputies and police who were in court to testify were mobilized to the school.

A deputy who normally provides security at the Middlesex Courthouse also responded and was on the scene in a few minutes to help secure the perimeter of the high school.

Additional deputies were dispatched to secure Middlesex Elementary School and St. Clare Walker Middle School where security was heightened.

Two explosive detecting dogs and handlers from Fort Eustis rushed to MHS. They arrived at 1:16 p.m. and were able to get to the school quicker than State Police dogs.

One dog and handler immediately began searching the school, while another team went to search the football field bleachers. Neither dog team found explosives.

Urbanna fire and rescue units responded. Rescue squad EMTs staged near the students who were assembled on the football field.

As part of the bomb threat plan a large VDOT truck blocked Route 17 Business on the west side, while State Police stopped traffic at the traffic light in Saluda. Even a Middlesex Animal control officer assisted.

Several parents who heard about the bomb scare tried to get to the school but were not allowed to cross the police lines. They were assured their children were safely relocated away from the building, said Middlesex Sheriff Guy Abbott.

Sheriff Abbott gave the all clear for reentry at 2:27 p.m. and students returned to school. “School officials and the Middlesex Sheriff’s Office and all other agencies worked closely,” said Sheriff Abbott. “It was good team work.”

MHS Resource Officer Deputy Austin Moon also works with the military police K-9 training units at Ft. Eustis. This partnership has led to a good working relationship between the Ft. Eustis and the Middlesex Sheriff’s Office and they exchange dog services as needed, said Abbott.

Related article:
Student charged in MHS bomb threat

posted 10.23.2008

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