Bomb Threat Tangles Traffic around Mall

Article excerpt

Byline: Gary Emerling, THE WASHINGTON TIMES

A bomb hoax at the Washington Monument yesterday prompted the evacuation of the monument and the Mall, which knotted traffic on nearby streets for about two hours.

The Metropolitan Police Department received a suspicious call about the monument at 2:24 p.m., U.S. Park Police spokesman Sgt. Scott Fear said. Park Police immediately evacuated visitors inside the monument and on its grounds and began searching for explosive devices.

"There were people in the Washington Monument that U.S. Park Police and National Park Police rangers were able to get down safely," Sgt. Fear said. "Then we just followed standard procedure."

Bomb-sniffing dogs scoured the monument and its grounds, while Park Police blocked off Constitution and Independence avenues and 15th and 17th streets.

National Park Service spokesman Bill Line said the closures caused "a good amount of backup" on westbound portions of Constitution and Independence avenues.

"It's typical because you're getting into that time period on Friday when you're going to have heavy traffic," Mr. Line said.

Police reopened the monument and the streets at about 4:15 p.m. "We did not find any explosives in the area," Sgt. Fear said.

Sgt. Fear said he could not discuss the nature of the threatening call.

Metro officials said Park Police told them the call may have been made at the Tenleytown station in Northwest. Video from surveillance cameras in that station will be reviewed for clues, officials said. …