East Chicago, Indiana Pipe Bomb Post Office Explosion: Reports

A person was injured after what may have been a pipe bomb exploded at a U.S. Post Office in East Chicago, Indiana, according to multiple news reports.

In a statement, the FBI said, “At this early stage in the investigation it has yet to be determined if this is an act of domestic or international terrorism, but at this time there is no ongoing public safety concern.”

ABC7 reported, “The newly-hired female employee, who a coworker said is pregnant, suffered minor injuries and was taken to St. Catherine’s Hospital as a precaution. The post office is closed to the public. The woman and another worker were the only ones in the post office at the time.”

“A fire official at the scene told The Times that they have found what they believe to be two pipe bombs and that at least one person is injured,” reported NWITimes.com. WGN reported that the victim, a female, suffered minor injuries.

“The official also stated that members from the Bureau of Alcohol, Tobacco, Firearms and Explosives were en route,” the newspaper added. According to WGN, Tom Ahern, ATF spokesman, confirmed that account on September 6. “It is suspected to be a couple of pipe bombs,” Ahern told WGN of the blast. The injured person has not yet been identified.

The spokesman told NBC Chicago that “one, possibly two explosive devices detonated.” The fire chief told the television station, “I cannot tell you exactly where, but it was inside and we believe it was a package.”

Photos and videos filled social media of the scene.

Chicago5 reports that the call about the explosion came in to authorities around 6 p.m. at 901 E. Chicago Ave. The television station reported that parts of the street were closed to traffic and a large law enforcement response was at the scene. The postal inspector was also at the scene.

Very few details – including possible suspect or motive – were released on the evening of September 6 as the incident was still unfolding. One local television station obtained aerial photos of the scene, although no damage was clearly present in them.

The fire chief told NWI.com that he “could not say if anyone was in the building at the time but that the post office closes at 6 p.m.,” one minute before the 911 call about the explosion came in to authorities. K-9 units were also spotted assisting authorities at the scene, according to the newspaper and photos posted on social media.

Pipe bombs at a federal post office is a highly unusual crime.